Aerobic-plus-resistance Combo Workout May Suit Obese Seniors Best

Kathleen Doheny wrote . . . . . .

Older, obese adults need to shed weight, but dieting can worsen their frailty. A new study addresses this conundrum, suggesting seniors take up both aerobic and resistance exercise while slimming down.

Engaging in aerobic and resistance exercise while losing weight enabled study participants to maintain more muscle mass and bone density compared to folks who did just one type of exercise or none at all, the researchers found.

“The best way to improve functional status and reverse frailty in older adults with obesity is by means of diet and regular exercise using a combination of resistance and aerobic exercise training,” said study leader Dr. Dennis Villareal. He’s a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

More than one-third of people age 65 and older in the United States are obese, according to the study authors. Obesity worsens the typical age-related decline in physical functioning and causes frailty, while weight loss can lead to harmful declines in muscle mass and bone density.

The researchers wanted to see what combination of exercise, along with dieting for weight loss, might be best. They randomly assigned 160 obese and sedentary adults, age 65 or older, to one of four groups: weight loss and aerobic training; weight loss and resistance training; or weight loss and a combination of both types of exercise. The fourth group served as controls and didn’t exercise or try to lose weight.

After six months, physical performance test scores increased by 21 percent in the combination exercise group, but just 14 percent among those who only did aerobic exercise or resistance exercise, Villareal’s team said.

The researchers also found that lean body mass and bone density declined less in the combination and resistance groups than in the aerobic group.

One strength of the study is its evaluation of several regimens, said Miriam Nelson, director of the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire.

Such research is critical, as ”the majority of [older] people are either overweight or obese,” said Nelson, who wasn’t involved in the study.

While many studies of obese or overweight older adults focus only on exercise and weight loss, “this is really looking at health,” she said.

“Health in aging is really [about] functioning,” Nelson said. Maintaining muscle strength and bone density is essential to remain mobile and functional, she pointed out.

“All these multiple factors are what dictate to a large extent somebody’s ability to be independent, healthy and to live life to its fullest as they age,” Nelson added.

At the outset of the study, participants were mildly to moderately frail, according to the authors.

The researchers assessed the seniors’ physical performance, muscle mass and bone health over the 26-week study.

The overall winners, the combination group, exercised three times a week, from 75 to 90 minutes each session.

Aerobic exercises included treadmill walking, stationary cyclingand stair climbing. Resistance training involved upper-body and lower-body exerciseson weight-lifting machines. All groups also did flexibility and balance exercises.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Source: HealthDay


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Give Prediabetes the Boot

One in three adults have prediabetes. If results from two new studies pan out, the right diet and exercise program could dramatically lower risk.

Cutting Carbs

Researchers randomly assigned 38 people who had prediabetes and were obese to one of two diets. Each cut 500 calories a day.1

After six months, 14 people had dropped out. However, blood sugar levels in all of the remaining 12 people on the higher-protein diet—but in only four of the remaining 12 on the higher-carb diet—had fallen into the normal range. What’s more, the higher-​protein group had lower hemoglobin A1c (a long-term measure of blood sugar) and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides, and some markers of inflammation.

Both groups lost the same amount of weight, but people on the higher-protein diet lost only fat, while those on the higher-carb diet lost both fat and muscle.

What to do: If you have prediabetes, try cutting back on carbs. (That will cut your calories and make protein a higher percentage of your diet.) Although this small study needs to be replicated, it’s worth a try. And you needn’t cut all carbs. You can still enjoy vegetables and fresh fruit, with small servings of grains.

Resist Diabetes

Strength training may also help make prediabetes disappear.

The Resist Diabetes trial enrolled 159 sedentary overweight or obese adults with prediabetes in a strength-training program for three months.2 Twice a week, they did 12 supervised exercises (like leg presses, chest presses, and abdominal crunches) for 8 to 12 repetitions each.

Then each participant was given one of two different levels of encouragement for six months, followed by six more months when they were on their own.

After the 15 months, 30 percent of the participants no longer had prediabetes. It made no difference whether they received more or less encouragement.

Although the volunteers didn’t lose weight, their waistlines did shrink. And those who gained the most muscle were the most likely to reverse their prediabetes.

What to do: If you’re not doing strength training, get started. People lose muscle as they age. Building strength is the best way to stop or reverse that loss, whether or not you have prediabetes.

Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest


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High Levels of Exercise Linked to Years of Less Aging at the Cellular Level

Despite their best efforts, no scientist has ever come close to stopping humans from aging. Anti-aging creams, lotions, potions, crystals and wizard spells can’t stop Old Father Time.

But new research from Brigham Young University reveals you may be able to slow one type of aging—the kind that happens inside your cells. As long as you’re willing to sweat.

“Just because you’re 40, doesn’t mean you’re 40 years old biologically,” Tucker said. “We all know people that seem younger than their actual age. The more physically active we are, the less biological aging takes place in our bodies.”

The study, published in the medical journal Preventative Medicine, finds that people who have consistently high levels of physical activity have significantly longer telomeres than those who have sedentary lifestyles, as well as those who are moderately active.

Telomeres are the nucleotide endcaps of our chromosomes. They’re like our biological clock and they’re extremely correlated with age; each time a cell replicates, we lose a tiny bit of the endcaps. Therefore, the older we get, the shorter our telomeres.

Exercise science professor Larry Tucker found adults with high physical activity levels have telomeres with a biological aging advantage of nine years over those who are sedentary, and a seven-year advantage compared to those who are moderately active. To be highly active, women had to engage in 30 minutes of jogging per day (40 minutes for men), five days a week.

“If you want to see a real difference in slowing your biological aging, it appears that a little exercise won’t cut it,” Tucker said. “You have to work out regularly at high levels.”

Tucker analyzed data from 5,823 adults who participated in the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, one of the few indexes that includes telomere length values for study subjects. The index also includes data for 62 activities participants might have engaged in over a 30-day window, which Tucker analyzed to calculate levels of physical activity.

His study found the shortest telomeres came from sedentary people—they had 140 base pairs of DNA less at the end of their telomeres than highly active folks. Surprisingly, he also found there was no significant difference in telomere length between those with low or moderate physical activity and the sedentary people.

Although the exact mechanism for how exercise preserves telomeres is unknown, Tucker said it may be tied to inflammation and oxidative stress. Previous studies have shown telomere length is closely related to those two factors and it is known that exercise can suppress inflammation and oxidative stress over time.

“We know that regular physical activity helps to reduce mortality and prolong life, and now we know part of that advantage may be due to the preservation of telomeres,” Tucker said.

Source: Brigham Young University


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Video: Neuro-scientist Explains the Best Exercise to Improve Brain Function

The author of “Healthy brain, Happy Life” and professor at the Center for Neural Science at New York University, Dr. Wendy Suzuki, explains the best way to exercise in order to improve brain function.

Watch video at You Tube (1:39 minutes) . . . .

Osteoarthritis Could be Prevented with Good Diet and Exercise

Osteoarthritis can potentially be prevented with a good diet and regular exercise, a new expert review published in the Nature Reviews Rheumatology reports.

During the expert review, researchers from the University of Surrey identified a crucial link between metabolism and osteoarthritis. Metabolic changes, caused by a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, trigger’s the genetic reprogramming of cells in the body and joints.

Such metabolic changes impact upon the cells ability to produce energy, forcing it to generate alternative sources to function. The stress this places on cells leads to the overproduction of glucose, which when not used for energy transforms into lactic acid, which is difficult for the body to flush out. Abnormal levels of this acid in the body leads to the inflammation of the joint’s cartilage which impedes on movement and causes pain.

By identifying metabolic changes in cells, it is potentially possible to control or significantly slow down the symptoms of osteoarthritis, alleviating the suffering of millions of people.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the United Kingdom with 8.75million people seeking medical advice for the condition. This debilitating condition disproportionately affects post-menopausal women who are more pre-disposed to the condition because of biology, genetics and hormones. Currently there is no effective treatment for this painful ailment, with only painkillers available to treat symptoms and no known cure.

Lead author Professor Ali Mobasheri, Professor of Musculoskeletal Physiology at the University of Surrey, said: “For too long osteoarthritis has been known as the ‘wear and tear disease’ and it has been assumed that it is part and parcel of getting older. However, this is not the case and what we have learnt is that we can control and prevent the onset of this painful condition.

“It is important never to underestimate the significance of a healthy diet and lifestyle as not only does it impact upon our general wellbeing but can alter the metabolic behaviour of our cells, tissues and organs leading to serious illnesses.”

Source: University of Surrey


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