Thursday, January 29, 2009

FITNESS AT ANY AGE: Older People Who Diet Without Exercising Lose Valuable Muscle Mass

By Eduardo Lorenzo

Participating in exercise related activities can do wonders for your body and mind at any age. However, increasing your level of activity after the age of 50 has even more significant health benefits.

Here's why: a recent study published at Science Daily ( showed that a group of sedentary and overweight elderly people placed on a four-month exercise program not only became more fit, but burned off more fat, compared to a group of elderly 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 onlydiet onlyexercise plus diet. The exercise only group could either walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle, although most chose to walk. The diet only group 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."

At Electra Health Club & Spa we offer a variety of services and programs that are tailored to everyone and every age. We are proud to offer Silver Sneakers™, a program that is designed especially for Seniors.

Our personal trainers all enjoy working with the senior population, as the progress can be achieved so quickly. Our programs can improve joint stability, range of motion, and overall strength, in addition to promoting weight loss.

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