Are HIIT Workouts Good for Seniors?

effective HIIT for seniorsHIIT and old age—sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? After all, this popular method of “High-Intensity Interval Training” involves high-impact near-maximum-effort exercises that you can only do for a short burst of time.

But does this mean seniors should just pass on this extremely effective time-saving workout? Well, not necessarily.

You see, research shows that you can still enjoy the benefits of HIIT even if you lower the intensity of each work set to a more comfortable—but still challenging—level.

How low can you go?

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says that each HIIT work set could last up to eight minutes long.

This means you could go as low as around 80% of your maximum heart rate per round and still reap benefits. This is perfect for seniors looking to stay fit and healthy but are unable to exert and sustain close-to-maximum effort each set.

And even if they could, if doing so ends up aggravating any medical conditions they have, then the gains brought about by training would be all for nothing.

Keep in mind that the ultimate goal of working out is to create a life that you love, so you should stick to exercises that help you do just that.

But what about all the high-impact movements?

Sure, HIIT is commonly associated with high-impact activities like sprinting, burpees and jump squats. However, it definitely doesn’t mean that you cannot do other lower-impact exercises instead.

At the end of the day, as long as you get your heart rate up to optimum levels for each workout, you’re all good.

swimming HIIT for seniorsThis means that you can pretty much choose whatever challenging enough activity you like.

You can swim, do Pilates, cycle or hop on a rowing machine. A growing number of seniors really enjoy the flowing movements of Tai Chi too!

And, if you’re a fan of lifting weights, you can do something called metabolic resistance training (MRT). Simply put, MRT involves doing a series of compound exercises non-stop during your work set, resting for a bit and then doing everything all over again.

Fat loss and muscle preservation

The best thing about doing HIIT is that it promotes rapid fat loss without burning significant amounts of lean muscle in the process.

This, of course, is perfect for older individuals who are more prone to fat gain and age-related muscle loss, which, in turn, leads to health problems like osteoporosis.

Just be sure to consult your doctor first before starting your HIIT journey to ensure that you're up for the challenge.

If you want to learn more, here's a great video about How to Find the Perfect Workout for You.


Article contributed by: Jess Walters 

P.S. Please share this article with your friends and family and I always love hearing from you in the comments below. Have you tried HIIT workouts yet?