Intermittent fasting may seem like a fad, but it has health implications that go beyond weight loss. It appears that this type of fasting can enhance energy metabolism, improve cellular stress response, and may be a key to longevity. (1) In fact, it may help protect older adults from injury.
Intermittent fasting (IF) can be done in a number of ways. One way is to fast for 16 hours per day. To do this, consume food and beverages during an eight hour window each day and then drink only water until the next day at the beginning of your next eight hour window.
It might look like this; Consume food and beverages from 8am to 4pm, then drink only water from 4pm until 8am the next morning.
Another form of IF is to fast every other day.
One week you fast Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the next week you would fast on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Some people do this for just a week or two while others practice this pattern until they achieve their weight or fitness goals.
The following reasons are why IF may protect older adults, and anyone else, from injury.
Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Reduce Insulin Resistance – Fasting helps reset bodily systems so that insulin receptors are restored to their proper sensitivity. Research shows that healthy insulin response is linked to healthy inflammation response for improved healing.
Gut Health – Fasting takes the burden off your digestion system, allowing it to rest and reset. When your digestive system is allowed to rest, your microbiome restores a healthy balance. This is important because healthy gut function promotes a strong immune system.
Reduced Chronic Inflammation – Fasting reduces internal chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for many age-related diseases including diabetes, arthritis, atherosclerosis, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Improved Muscle Performance – IF, can improve body composition. In fact, alternate day fasting seems to improve the ratio of lean muscle to fat mass, which may in turn protect your bones and joints. (2)
Increase HGH Production – HGH, or human growth hormone, is responsible for building and repairing healthy muscles and even brain tissue. IF improves HGH levels in both men and women, which can protect your body from injury.
IF and Exercise are an Important Combination
The benefits of IF are greatly increased when you include exercise into your regimen. In fact, just 30 minutes of cardio even while fasting has a positive impact on preserving muscle while stimulating HGH production.
You can choose from a variety of exercises, such as:
A fitness app like Yes.Fit is a great way to ensure you get the exercise you need. The right app can help you track your progress and motivate you to stay on track. Choose from virtual races that you can walk, jog, run, or bike and win medals, shirts, and more to keep you motivated. Most fitness apps provide access to a group or social network of others on the same path as participants motivate each other and make friends.
If you are a mature adult, IF may be the key to anti-aging, more energy, and protection from age-related diseases and injury. Using a fitness app to challenge yourself in virtual races allows you to go at your own pace and keep track of your meals. And remember, it is always best to check with your doctor before embarking on a dietary change, especially if you take medications.
1 Jeong MA, Plunet W, Streijger F, et al. Intermittent fasting improves functional recovery after rat thoracic contusion spinal cord injury. J Neurotrauma. 2011;28(3):479-492. doi:10.1089/neu.2010.1609
2 Catenacci VA, Pan Z, Ostendorf D, Brannon S, Gozansky WS, Mattson MP, Martin B, MacLean PS, Melanson EL, Troy Donahoo W. A randomized pilot study comparing zero-calorie alternate-day fasting to daily caloric restriction in adults with obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Sep;24(9):1874-83. doi: 10.1002/oby.21581. PMID: 27569118; PMCID: PMC5042570.
This content was originally published here.