Exercise more beneficial to older adults than cutting calories

New York: Older adults who want to loose weight get more benefit from exercise that a calorie restricted diet alone, according to new research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

A study of 34 adults in their 50s and 60s, found that both dieters and exercisers lost weight. But those who also exercised kept their muscle mass, strength and fitness levels.

The exercise taken by older adults fights the natural muscle decline that comes with ageing.

The researchers concluded that it was more beneficial to exercise than diet, provided extra calories are not consumed.

The study findings are based on a one-year follow-up of healthy older adults who were required to take either exercise or cut calories to lose weight.

The dieters had weekly meetings with a dietitian to discuss ways to alter their eating habits, while the exercise group met with a trainer each week.

The average weight loss in each group was nearly identical — about 17 pounds over one year. But while dieters lost muscle mass, strength and endurance, exercisers preserved theirs.