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Older people who diet without exercising lose valuable muscle mass
Date:9/17/2008

to achieve a 10% weight loss by the end of the four-month study period. The final group combined both the daily exercise and the diet.

Exercise increases efficiency, burns more fat

The researchers measured how many calories the participants expended during a set work load on a stationary bicycle at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. They found that the:

  • Exercise group expended fewer calories (became more efficient) on the exercise task at the end of the study compared to the beginning.
  • Exercise group drew more on fat stores as the source of their body's fuel.
  • Diet-only group did not gain efficiency in performing the exercise task, even though they weighed less at the end of the experiment.
  • Diet-only group's weight loss resulted from a loss of both muscle and fat.
  • Exercise plus diet group was the most efficient at the exercise task at the end of the experiment. This shows an additive effect of both dieting and exercise, but most of that benefit was due to exercise.
  • Exercise plus diet group, like the exercise-only group, drew more on fat stores as an energy source.

"The take-home message is that, even among older people and during a fairly short period of time, exercise produces metabolic changes that require the expenditure of fewer calories during physical activity," Goodpaster said. Exercise also allowed older people to more preferentially burn fat, which may be healthier metabolically."


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Contact: Christine Guilfoy
cguilfoy@the-aps.org
301-634-7253
American Physiological Society
Source:Eurekalert

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