As people age, they often experience weight problems and develop obesity. Diets with calorie restrictions are an obvious countermeasure, but these alone are not sufficient if you want to successfully lose fat as you age without experiencing negative effects on the body.
A new study involving experts from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) examined which strategies are particularly effective for treating obesity in older people. The results can be read in the English-language journal “Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care”.
Calorie cuts are not enough
In general, restricting your calorie intake is necessary if you want to significantly reduce your existing fat mass as you get older, the researchers explain. In addition, attention should also be paid to physical activity in order to counteract the loss of muscle mass and bone mass as a result of calorie restriction.
Reduced calorie intake should be combined with resistance training to improve the response of muscle protein synthesis to anabolic stimuli and prevent the reduction in muscle and bone mass caused by calorie restriction, the team reports.
According to experts, accompanying aerobic exercises can not only improve cardiorespiratory fitness, but also cognitive functions.
Optimal exercise program for weight loss
Combining reduced calorie intake with aerobic and resistance training is associated with the greatest improvement in cardiometabolic and cognitive outcomes, frailty in old age and quality of life, according to the team.
Such a comprehensive lifestyle intervention also improves glucose metabolism control and age-related outcomes in older people with diabetes, the researchers add.
Combination with testosterone therapy
If this lifestyle intervention is also combined with testosterone therapy, experts say this can further improve the preservation of muscle and bone mass in older men with obesity and hypogonadism.
Taken together, the results make it clear that losing weight and fat mass in old age is not just about consuming fewer calories. Rather, it is also important to get enough physical activity, ideally combining aerobic exercises and resistance training. (as)