Fitness Tips

Exactly How To Dial Up Your Exercise Intensity—Because a New Study Says That’s What Longevity-Boosting Workouts Are Made Of

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsAugust 24, 2020

Thumbnail for Exactly How To Dial Up Your Exercise Intensity—Because a New Study Says That’s What Longevity-Boosting Workouts Are Made Of
Pin It
Photo: Getty Images/Westend61

Dialing up the intensity in your exercise routine can look like a lot of things: adding a mile to your morning run, tacking one more circuit onto your HIIT session, opting for an extra chaturanga (a yoga push-up) or two in your on-demand yoga class. No matter how you choose to up the ante on your sweat routine, a new study indicates that it’s well worth doing. Not just because high-intensity workouts are good for your heart health (we know that already!), but because they may just increase your longevity.

The brand-new study out of the U.K. looked at nearly 100,000 Biobank participants with a mean of 62-years-old and age—56 percents of whom were female. The scientists divided the subjects into different profiles based on their workout intensities, then they followed the participants’ health via their smartwatches over time (a mean of 3.1 years). The results? Those with a physical activity energy expenditure (or PAEE, which dictates the workout’s intensity) that was moderate or intense tended to have reduced mortality rates in comparison to those in the other profiles. In other words, researchers found that higher-intensity workouts resulted in living a longer, more healthy life.

“Our results show that doing more activity of any intensity is beneficial, but that expending those calories in more intense activity is better still,” Tessa Strain, PhD, study lead told the United Kingdom’s Medical Research Council. “By gradually building up the intensity of physical activity we do each day we can improve our future health.” The results also indicate that activity volumes also have a cumulative effect, and thus even lighter activities—like yoga, barre, or floor Pilates—that are sustained over time could lower your risk of mortality.

If you’re in the market for ways to up your intensity, you have so many options. Trainer Charlee Atkins previously told Well+Good that you can divvy up your week so that you have three days of strength training, two days of cardio, one day of yoga, and one rest day—and that blueprint’s just the one you need to look at when you’re starting the project of adding a little more oomph to your at-home workouts.  Below, you’ll find a video that intensifies each type of workout.

Don’t go too far too fast, but do consider swapping in one of these workouts this week to raise your heart rate, sweat a little more, or work your muscles just a bit more than usual.

3 workouts to up your exercise intensity—no matter what you like to do

To run a little farther, try this 15-minute treadmill workout

This tread work may only be 15 minutes long, but it will help you build up your endurance so you can run way, way longer than that. In this run (which you could do outside if you don’t have access to a treadmill), Nike Run Coach Jes Woods guides you through intervals that push you through increasing levels of effort as the run progresses. By the end, you’ll be hitting your 90 percent—and that’s pretty intense, right?

To make high-intensity interval training higher-intensity interval training, try this 25-minute HIIT cardio

Barry’s trainer Sashah Handal pulls out all stops with this workout that will send you heart racing in a 25-minute period that’s shorter than most of your Zoom meetings. Just grab your mat and get ready to sweat. Look forward to plank shoulder taps, jumping lunges, and (so many) squats.

For strengthening yoga, try this core-centric flow

Val Verdier, headteacher of Modo Yoga in New York City has a knack for classes that feel at once restorative and vigorous—and this flow is no exception. You’ll test your core throughout this tough series of asanas (that’s Sanskrit for poses) and roll up your mat feeling stronger… and a lot sweatier.

Loading More Posts...