Does Aerobic-Resistance Exercise Benefit Seniors With Obesity?

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One hundred and sixty sedentary or obese seniors were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 weight loss or control groups.
One hundred and sixty sedentary or obese seniors were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 weight loss or control groups.

HealthDay News — Engaging in aerobic and resistance exercise while losing weight enables elderly obese patients to maintain more muscle mass and bone density compared to those who do just one type of exercise or none at all, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dennis Villareal, MD, of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues randomly assigned 160 obese and sedentary adults, age 65 or older, to 1 of 4 groups: weight loss and aerobic training; weight loss and resistance training; or weight loss and a combination of both types of exercise. The fourth group served as controls and didn't exercise or try to lose weight.

The researchers found that after 6 months, physical performance test scores increased by 21% in the combination exercise group, compared to 14% among those who only did aerobic exercise or resistance exercise. Lean body mass and bone density also declined less in the combination and resistance groups than in the aerobic group.

"In conclusion, our study showed that weight loss plus resistance training or aerobic training improved physical function and ameliorated frailty; however, weight loss plus combined aerobic and resistance training provided greater improvement in physical function and reduction of frailty than either intervention alone and was associated with relative preservation of lean mass," the authors write.

Reference

Villareal DT, Aguirre L, Gurney AB, et al. Aerobic or resistance exercise, or both, in dieting obese older adults [published online May 18, 2017]. N Engl J Med. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1616338

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