HIIT and the elderly

Discussion in 'Training' started by Gazelle, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. Gazelle

    Gazelle studying

    Hi all, I haven't posted here for a long time now, but a question has come up and because of all you smart people, this is the first place I thought to come for an answer.

    I've recently turned my 70-year-old father onto HIIT. He's a scientist, so he gets it. He's also a mad scientist, so he's really getting into it and asking me lots of questions every day about it. He and my mother both go to the gym and work out a lot, doing swimming, weights and cardio. He's doing "HIIT" on the treadmill by walking on a 10% incline. This is how he explains what he's doing:

    "3.5 mph, took 1m 10sec to reach 140 heart rate,
    then brought speed down to 1 mph (I keep typing mpg)
    took 3m for my heart rate to come down to 115.
    Kept up this cycle for 35 minutes - exhilarating."


    His question is, is it safe for someone his age to run his heart rate up and down so quickly (though it may not sound quick to us)? He says he doesn't trust anything his doctor tells him and feels no serious strain at 140. This looks OK to me - though maybe 35 min is longer than necessary? - but I want to make sure I am not advising him to do anything dangerous.

    How safe is this? How much further should he go? What should he be careful of at his age? He's a strong man, always has been, with a strong heart and lungs.
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  2. mark

    mark Rockin' teh spandex!

    What he's doing looks okay to me, assuming no underlying medical issues. He's not really doing HIIT with this setup, but more of a traditional interval training.
  3. Gazelle

    Gazelle studying

    Thanks Mark. You're right, he's not actually doing HIIT and I should probably steer him towards continuing interval training without the "high intensity" part ..
  4. Cindy Day

    Cindy Day Well-Known Member

    This interests me as well, as my Dad is 71 and goes to the gym as well. He does both training and cardio on a modest to moderate level. If I get around to any research I'll post up but would love to see more on this as well.
  5. Gazelle

    Gazelle studying

    It turns out his main concern is the speed at which he is increasing and decreasing his heart rate. How quickly should the HR buildup and slowdown be for someone his age? In other words, what's best in terms of both safety and the benefits of the interval training?
  6. Cris

    Cris I Can Do This!

    Disclaimer: The best answer is for him to check with his own physician...however as a cardiac nurse I would say...

    If he is not symptomatic in any way (chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations) he is actually doing the most beneficial thing he can do for his heart by continuing to exercise to his capacity. When we do cardiac exercise stress testing, this is essentially what we do to see if the heart is getting enough oxygen/blood flow to the muscle. We calculate a predicted max heart rate and work to get the patient to 70-80% of this and look for any signs of poor oxygen flow (changes on their EKG, greater than 20mmHg elevation in blood pressure, or symptoms like the ones above). We like to see our patients heart rate return to their baseline in the area of 5 mins, sometimes a little longer if they are not in too great of shape. So his is actually excellent. The coronary arteries which supply blood/oxygen to the heart muscle are actually able to build up small collateral networks of tiny arterioles/capillaries to deliver more oxygen and nutrients. This build up is achieved by regular exercise.
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  7. sunny

    sunny Member

    :love: So happy to hear about your fathers staying fit, Gazelle and Lite!!! :)
  8. ritzgal

    ritzgal Well-Known Member

    Good stuff Cris :love:

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