Interval training can boost performance and reduce aging, even for older athletes.
Joe Friel is on a mission to teach younger athletes how to stay young and fit. At nearly age 70, for Friel “younger athletes” means people who are around 50.
In his new book, “Fast After 50,” Friel outlines a workout plan and reveals his research into how those over age 50 can maintain muscle and reduce the impact of aging, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Friel says that the key is high-intensity, interval workouts, which he says can keep producing strength and speed gains for athletes even in their 50’s. By contrast, many older athletes transition to slower but longer distance training as they age.
But Friel says the research shows that such endurance training is counter-productive. In particular, since aging tends to lead to shrinking muscles, high intensity training with heavy weight lifting is important to stave off the trend of muscle loss.
People who are deemed healthy enough to start weight lifting, Friel says, should lift with heavy weights two to three times a week. Typical interval training means short bouts of intense exercise, to the point of breathing hard, for a minute at a time, followed by a minute of rest.
People who are just starting out may do as few as one such set of several exercises, working up to training sessions involving three or more such sets of each exercise.
Friel says that in addition to strength training and high-intensity interval training, older athletes need to get plenty of sleep and adequate protein to stave of the worst effects of the aging process.