Frailty is becoming a bigger health concern and a major healthcare cost as people get older.
Previous studies have shown that obesity could increase frailty and the harmful effects of aging.
One important way to prevent frailty is to preserving muscle mass. But this is difficult for people who try to lose weight.
In a recent study from Baylor College of Medicine and elsewhere, researchers found that aerobic exercise and resistance training could help preserve muscle mass in older obese people.
They found that combining aerobic exercise and resistance training could help these people preserve muscle mass and prevent frailty.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism. The lead author is Dennis T. Villareal, professor, and geriatric endocrinologist at Baylor College of Medicine.
The team tested obese older people in a weight-management program. These people took aerobic workouts, resistance training or a combination of both.
Aerobic activities included treadmill walking, stationary cycling, and stair climbing.
Resistance training consisted of 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps on nine upper-body and lower-body weight-lifting machines.
The team found that people who completed the aerobic exercise and resistance training had increased muscle protein synthesis and preserved muscle quality.
In addition, combined aerobic and resistance training improved heart fitness to the same extent as aerobic training alone and improved muscle strength to the same extent as resistance training alone.
The findings suggest that the exercise combination could provide the greatest improvement in physical function and reducing frailty in older obese people.
The team also analyzed the muscle biopsies of the participants before and after six months of the exercise program to see how their muscle tissue was affected.
They found that the participants’ muscle protein synthesis rate increased more with resistance training and combined aerobic-resistance exercise.
The combined aerobic-resistance exercise was also linked to lower genes related to muscle atrophy and the best preservation of muscle growth factors.
The researchers say that although weight loss may reduce muscle mass, exercise training helps to preserve muscle mass, improve physical function and reduce frailty.
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