A group of sedentary and overweight older people placed on a four-month exercise program not only became more fit, but burned off more fat, compared to older 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 researchers wanted to know the best way to get better (more efficient) at completing a defined exercise task.
In particular, they wanted to know if greater fitness could be achieved through exercise training, weight loss (through dieting), or both.
In addition, they wanted to know which fuel source the body would draw upon, carbohydrates or fats, under these different conditions.
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.
Read more at Medical News Today