As many aging parents and spouses who are overweight know, their health would be positively impacted if they could shed some of those excess pounds. Obesity is a problem for many in the United States, not just aging parents, and finding ways to lose weight is a challenge for many. It can be even more challenging for older Americans, as too much or improper dieting can lead to poor nutrition and can in some cases contribute to frailty. So, as a new study indicates, the answer may be exercise.
Entitled “Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults,” the article was published in May 2017 by the New England Journal of Medicine. The clinical trial looked at 141 aging parents, spouses, and other seniors who met the criteria for being obese. Each individual was assigned at random to one of three groups. Each of the groups included a diet component; the variability was in the form of exercise. One group engaged in aerobic exercises, another in resistance training, and the third in a combination of both.
When they looked at results after six months, all of the groups showed a similar weight loss — about 9% on average in each of the three groups. But in terms of how the study impacted their physicality overall, they saw that both the aerobics-only and the resistance-only groups saw a 14% increase (nothing to sneeze at!), compared to a 21% increase for the group that worked at both aerobics and resistance exercises.
In other words, the overall health of the participants improved most when they dieted and participated in exercises that were both in the aerobics and resistance areas.
Aging parents, spouses, and others who need to lose weight should consider incorporating both aerobics and resistance exercise into their lives. They should also follow a well-designed diet plan. In order to do so safely, it is advised that they consult with a doctor regarding the exercise and a nutritionist regarding proper diet.