The Best Exercise Regimen for Healthy Weight Loss

“Weight training or cardio exercises?” is often a hot topic of conversation when trying to lose weight. And although losing weight via diet and exercise is often encouraged for those with obesity, new research shines light on which type of workout regimen prevails regarding seniors and weight loss.

The Best Exercise Regimen for Weight Loss

According to a recent study conducted by Wake Forest University, the best exercises for older adults to lose weight consists of weight training. Published in the journal Obesity, researchers examined the long‐term effects of exercise methods on weight loss, along with associations between body composition and physical function changes, over an 18-month timespan. The study included 249 older adults in their 60s who were considered overweight or obese based on body mass index (BMI). The seniors were then randomized into one of three groups, including strictly weight loss, weight loss plus aerobic training, and weight loss plus resistance training. Whereas total body mass loss was enhanced when weight loss was combined with exercise, which is not so surprising, researchers further worryingly identified lean muscle mass was lost with aerobic exercise. Nonetheless, diet plus resistance training resulted in less muscle loss with more fat loss, while loss of fat was also associated with faster walking speed and loss of muscle was associated with reduced knee strength.

So when it comes to senior weight loss, health experts encourage the implementation of resistance training to concurrently preserve lean muscle mass. The combination of strength training and balance exercises is imperative for reducing the risks of physical disability among the growing population of older adults, including falls and fractures that can be debilitating and even fatal in the senior population. Ultimately, not only does resistance training contribute to a leaner body weight, but helps sustain strength and independence as the body ages.

Seniors and Weight Loss: Key Tips

Consult with the Professionals First

Before starting any sort of exercise regimen, it is important to consult with a primary care provider first. Following their stamp of approval, and especially if new to exercise, consider the assistance of a personal trainer to create an effective and individualized exercise plan to meet personal needs, along with demonstrating proper form and technique to ensure safety and lower the risk of injury.

Partake in Aerobic Exercises

Although resistance training shows to trump aerobic exercise for weight loss and muscle preservation, seniors should still partake in some sort of cardio. Aerobic exercise elevates heart and breathing rates and has proven to not only assist in weight loss, but lowers the risk of and manages diabetes, protects against heart disease, reduces stress, boosts mood, improves sleep cycles, and heightens energy throughout the day. Valuable cardio exercises include biking, swimming, dancing, and brisk walking, while gardening, cleaning, and doing the laundry can also be beneficial

Stretch It Out

Whereas stretching is commonly dismissed or forgotten about following a workout, it can improve flexibility and encourage greater range of motions. Nonetheless, stretching protects against muscle tightness, thus keeping seniors agile to workout on a regular basis. The National Institute on Aging breaks down how to improve balance and flexibility here.

Consume A Balanced Diet

Diet is a critical factor in not only weight loss, but overall health. Seniors are encouraged to consume a balanced diet of whole grains, fruits and veggies, lean and plant-based proteins, and healthy fat sources. Seniors and caregivers can also take advantage of Silver Cuisine, an a la cart meal delivery service providing well-balanced meals straight to doorsteps!