0800 GMT October 23, 2019
Older folks who performed resistance training while dieting were able to lose fat but still preserve most of their lean muscle mass, compared with those who walked for exercise, researchers report, UPI wrote.
Lead researcher Kristen Beavers, an assistant professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, said, "The thought is if you lose too much lean mass, that this will exacerbate risk of disability in older adults.
"Our findings show if your treatment goal is to maximize fat loss and minimize lean mass loss, then the resistance training is probably the way to go."
Excess pounds significantly contribute to frailty and disability in old age, but there's concern that dieting alone might rob older adults of the muscle they need to maintain their mobility and independence, researchers explained in background notes.
To find out the best way for seniors to lose weight, Beavers and her colleagues randomly assigned 249 people, average age 67, to one of three different weight-loss groups.
All of the groups went on a diet, but the second and third groups also were asked to exercise four days a week. The second group lifted weights, while the third walked briskly.
After 18 months, the resistance training and aerobic groups both had lost more fat than those who only dieted — 17 and 15 pounds, versus 10 pounds, respectively.
But the resistance training group maintained more of their muscle mass, losing only 1.7 pounds of lean mass compared with 3.5 pounds of muscle lost in the walking group and 2.2 pounds in the diet-only group.
The findings were published in the November issue of the journal Obesity.