Keeping fit as you grow older is really important and it doesn't always have to be slow and less riveting than forms of fitness tailored to a younger generation. Studies reveal High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be suitable for older adults too and this walking HIIT workout is a great place to start.
Naturally, some people will suffer from age-related issues more significantly than others, this is why it's important to consult with your doctor about any new fitness regimes you plan on trying out. There are plenty of exercises out there that are suited to all fitness abilities. For example, long stretching sessions that can be completed on one of the best yoga mats at home, or a daily walk outside.
If you're still very active, or looking to increase your physical fitness later in life, research (opens in new tab) has discovered that healthy adults over the age of 65 can enjoy the benefits of HIIT workouts. This 30-minute walking HIIT workout is great for raising your heart rate without requiring any high-impact movement.
The no-equipment workout that was posted to the SeniorShape fitness YouTube will lead you through the full low-impact session, demonstrating how to perform the twelve moves.
Each move will have three different levels lasting 30 seconds. The level of difficulty will increase as the routine progresses but it is fully up to you to choose or remain with whatever level you feel most comfortable performing. Watch below to follow along.
SENIORSHAPE FITNESS' LOW-IMPACT WALKING HIIT WORKOUT FOR SENIORS
The reason this routine includes three levels to each exercise is to help increase the cardiovascular and strength results of the HIIT workout. Level one will keep things nice and steady. Level two will increase the difficulty of the move by adding in another part of the body perhaps. Then, level three aims to get the heart pumping by adding something like a small hop, making the exercise more dynamic.
You'll take a 30-second active rest between each exercise that requires you to walk on the spot as you bring the heart rate back down before the next move.
Is HIIT beneficial as you age?
While much research has been done into the health benefits of HIIT for young and middle-aged adults, the recent 2021 study (opens in new tab) that we referred to above looked into HIIT exercise for older adults and the results are promising.
The scoping review was published in the Sports Medicine journal and found from cross-examining 69 studies, that featured findings on high-intensity interval training and older adults, that HIIT is a favorable form of aerobic exercise for older adults to perform.
The researchers concluded, "As the global population continues to age, early research on the impact of aerobic HIIT in older adults suggests that this training method (HIIT) is generally well-tolerated, feasible, and may confer many health advantages to this population."
It's useful to note that participants across the various studies mentioned in this paper were not non-clinical populations so these results are not necessarily translatable to all elderly adults. It is advised that health precautions must be taken before working out using HIIT.
A lighter form of exercise such as brisk walking on one of the best treadmills on the market right now is another suitable way for older adults to improve their cardiovascular health.
Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition.
When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.
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