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Seniors Should Lift Weights for Exercise: Study

Web Desk(November 3, 2017): Seniors who want to lose weight should hit the weight room while they cut calories, a new study suggests.

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.

“The thought is if you lose too much lean mass, that this will exacerbate risk of disability in older adults,” said Kristen Beavers.  “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.”

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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.

Minimizing the loss of muscle is important not only for protecting seniors’ mobility and independence, but also as insurance if they eventually put some pounds back on, Beavers said.

“When you lose weight due to dieting, you lose not only fat mass, you may lose lean muscle mass as well. This can result in a loss of strength, and a possible decrease in metabolism,” said Schiff. “The key is to maintain muscle mass by eating a healthy diet and getting enough protein, and using resistance training to avoid muscle depletion.”

The best kind of diet for weight loss usually involves cutting calories,” he said. “It keeps you full by including lots of vegetables and fruits, which are great sources of fiber.

It includes healthy fats, and does not include a lot of refined sugar or refined grains. It includes enough protein to spare your muscles.”

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