A new study found that cutting 250 Calories a day with moderate exercise reaped bigger rewards than exercise alone for older, obese adults. Older adults with obesity can combine aerobic exercise with a moderate reduction in daily Calories resulting in greater improvements in aortic stiffness compared to exercise only or to exercise plus a more restrictive diet. The new study was published in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation.
New lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet and regular physical activity may help offset age-related increases in aortic stiffness. Although aerobic exercise generally has favorable effects on aortic structure and function, previous studies have shown that exercise alone may not be sufficient to improve aortic stiffness in older adults with obesity.Tina E. Brinkley, PhD, lead author of the study and associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina said that this is the first study to assess the effects of aerobic exercise training with and without reducing Calories on aortic stiffness, which was measured via cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) to obtain detailed images of the aorta.
The two calorie-restricted groups received pre-made lunches and dinners with less than 30% of Calories from fat and at least 0.8 grams of protein per kg of their ideal body weight. These meals are prepared under the direction of a registered dietitian for the study; they make their breakfasts. Everyone in the study received supervised aerobic exercise training four days per week for the duration of the 20-week study at the Geriatric Research Center at Wake Forest School of Medicine.