Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo and Research Service, Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System; [Email]
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is emerging as a therapeutic approach to prevent, delay, or ameliorate frailty. In particular short session HIIT, with regimens less than or equal to 10 min is of particular interest as several human studies feature routines as short as a few minutes a couple times a week. However, there is a paucity of animal studies that model the impacts of short session HIIT. Here, we describe a methodology for an individually tailored and progressive short session HIIT regimen of 10 min given 3 days a week for aged mice using an inclined treadmill. Our methodology also includes protocols for treadmill assessment. Mice are initially acclimatized to the treadmill and then given baseline flat and uphill treadmill assessments. Exercise sessions begin with a 3 min warm-up, then three intervals of 1 min at a fast pace, followed by 1 min at an active recovery pace. Following these intervals, the mice are given a final segment that starts at the fast pace and accelerates for 1 min. The HIIT protocol is individually tailored as the speed and intensity for each mouse are determined based upon initial anaerobic assessment scores. Additionally, we detail the conditions for increasing or decreasing the intensity for individual mice depending on performance. Finally, intensity is increased for all mice every two weeks. We previously reported in this protocol enhanced physical performance in aged male mice and here show it also increases treadmill performance in aged female mice. Advantages of our protocol include low administration time (about 15 min per 6 mice, 3 days a week), strategy for individualizing for mice to better model prescribed exercise, and a modular design that allows for the addition or removal of the number and length of intervals to titrate exercise benefits.