The health risks associated with obesity in older adults are numerous and profound, including frailty. However, losing weight may accelerate certain age-related health issues such as bone and muscle mass. This, in turn, may contribute to osteopenia and sarcopenia.

The question, then, is how older obese adults can safely improve their health through diet and exercise, and what form of exercise is best for said individuals. In an attempt to answer this question, a clinical trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of various exercise methods.

The Study

Several exercise modes were tested in this trial that involved 160 obese older adults. The goal was to evaluate how effective each mode of exercise was in reversing age-related frailty while also preventing the bone and muscle mass loss that often accompanies weight loss in such individuals.

Each participant was assigned to both a weight-management program and an exercise program. There were three possible types of exercise programs—aerobic, resistance, or combined training. A control group was also included in the study. This group did not have an exercise or weight-management program.

Physical Performance Test scores after six months were used as the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes were also evaluated, including changes in bone mineral density, body composition, physical functions, and other measures of frailty.

What Form Of Exercise Is Best For Older Adults


Of the original 160 obese older adults that were included in the trial, 141 finished the study. Both the aerobic group and the resistance group saw a 14% increase in the Physical Performance Test score. The combination group, on the other hand, increased by 21%. All of these groups saw more improvement than the control group.

All training groups saw a 9% decrease in body weight, while the control group saw no significant change. The aerobic and combination groups saw the highest increase in peak oxygen consumption. The combination and resistance groups experienced the largest increase in strength.

The combination and resistance groups also saw the least amount of lean mass decrease and bone mineral density decrease among the exercise groups.

Some musculoskeletal injuries were observed as adverse events related to exercise.

What it Means

The best method for losing weight in an effective, healthy manner in older adults that are obese is a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises, according to this study. This should provide individuals and their physicians valuable insight when addressing obesity-related health issues and how to mitigate them via weight loss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *