Training frequency on health and physical function of older adults
Adamson et al; International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Summary of Findings
In controlled testing, a Scottish research team found that the once-weekly exercise sessions (sprint interval training) was enough to produce improvements in blood glucose control and general mobility amongst older adults. The study demonstrated, for the first time, the impact of training frequency on adaptations to sprint interval training in older adults. Training frequency is known to be important for improvements in a number of different aspects of fitness and health. It demonstrates that twice, and even once-weekly sprint interval training, significantly improves both physical function and aerobic fitness in older adults but only twice-weekly training improves whole body glucose metabolism. The fact that only once a week is sufficient to produce health benefits means that the minimum time and frequency of exercise required is much lower than currently recommended. The results provide further support for the inclusion of high-intensity interval training in the latest physical activity guidelines as one of the methods to gain health benefits by accumulating vigorous intensity physical activity. However, further research is needed to explore the impact of frequency when total sprint volume is the same across training groups.
These are important findings given the number of older adults who fail to reach the recommended physical activity levels and suggests that minimum time and frequency of exercise required could much lower than what is currently recommended for this age group. The research suggests that even low durations of activity can have a positive impact on health.