Seniors, Lose the Weight But Not the Muscle in 2018

From - December 29, 2017

Seniors, Lose the Weight But Not the Muscle in 2018

FRIDAY, Dec. 29, 2017 -- If you are a senior who's pledging to lose weight in 2018, be sure you are shedding excess fat without losing muscle and bone.

Losing fat is good for your heart, but maintaining muscle and bone is crucial for staying mobile and living independently, said Kristen Beavers, a health and exercise science professor at Wake Forest University.

"Everybody says that they want to lose weight, but what they really mean is that they want to lose fat," she said. "And, for older adults in particular, maintaining muscle is a vital part of any plan to lose weight."

To do that, she suggests resistance training -- what used to be called "weight training." In a study published recently in the journal Obesity, Beavers showed that resistance training was more effective than walking at helping obese seniors lose weight and preserve muscle mass.

It's also important to be realistic when planning a weight loss/exercise program so you do not get discouraged and give up by early February, Beavers said. She suggested consulting with a fitness expert at a community facility, like the YMCA or a senior center. Both offer free or reduced rates for seniors.

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