FITNESS AT ANY AGE: Older People Who Diet Without Exercising Lose Valuable Muscle Mass
Participating in exercise activity at any age does wonders for your body. However increasing your level of activity after the age of 50 is even more important to do so. Here’s why: a recent study published at Science Daily website, showed a group of sedentary and overweight older people placed on a four-month exercise program not only became more fit, but burned off more fat, compared to older sedentary people who were placed on a diet but did not exercise.
The new study also showed that when older people diet without exercising, they lose more lean muscle compared to those who exercise, said senior researcher Bret H. Goodpaster. When they combined weight loss with exercise, it nearly completely prevented the loss of lean muscle mass. The results are important because older people tend to lose muscle mass as they age and too much muscle loss may interfere with activities of daily living.
The 64 participants were 60-75 years of age and were either overweight or obese. All of the participants were sedentary at the outset of the study. The researchers divided the participants into three groups:
• exercise only
• diet only
• exercise plus diet
Those who exercised could either walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle, although most chose to walk. The dieters reduced their caloric intake to achieve a 10% weight loss by the end of the four-month study period. The final group combined both the daily exercise and the diet.
Exercise increases efficiency, burns more fat.
“The take-home message is that, even among older people and during a fairly short period of time, exercise produces metabolic changes that require the expenditure of fewer calories during physical activity,” Goodpaster said. Exercise also allowed older people to more preferentially burn fat, which may be healthier metabolically.”