|My mom practicing her balance |
after completing 40 squats.
Mom will be adding interval training to her routine. My friend, Carol Harnett, recently shared this NYTimes article on the best exercise for aging muscles. It describes a study that looked at the types of exercise that have the most positive impact at the cellular level. As we age, the cells in our muscles do not regenerate as quickly. Exercise can help us combat this, but interval training has the greatest positive impact.
What's this mean in practice? Mom is going to work hard on a stationary bike, elliptical or treadmill for four minutes, rest and go easy for three, and repeat three more times for a 28 minute work out. She'll throw in a few minutes to warm-up and set a goal to do this three times per week. And, because I want to be able to hike up a volcano in Iceland when I'm 72 like my mom did last year, I'll be doing the same thing.
Mom and I plan to be "super-agers" just like these women on The Today Show who defy the effects of old age. In addition to being physically active, these folks are learning new things. They routinely push through the feeling of discomfort we all feel when we're exercising or struggling to learn something new. I'm taking a Health Economics class at George Mason University this semester. Mom's looking into taking one of The Great Courses online. (Following that link will get you a free month trial thanks to Ezra Klein at Vox.)