FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 file photo, gym members use a treadmill to warm up for a morning exercise class in Addison, Texas. A study released on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 suggests that heavy seniors who want to lose pounds safely shouldn’t skip the weight machines or the treadmill. Losing weight plus aerobic activity and strength training improved the health of older obese people more than weight loss plus either type of exercise alone. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

'Fat and frail' seniors benefit from right exercise combo

May 17, 2017 - 5:08 pm

CHICAGO (AP) — New research suggests older, obese people on diets shouldn't skip the weight machines or the treadmill.

A study published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine tried to determine the safest approach for seniors losing weight.

Researchers randomly assigned groups to a diet-and-exercise program for six months. Those whose program included aerobics and strength training scored best on tasks such as standing up from a chair and climbing stairs.

More than a third of Americans ages 65 and older are obese. Experts have worried about recommending weight loss to obese seniors because it speeds up bone and muscle loss, increasing the danger of broken bones.

The study excluded people with serious health problems, so the results apply only to people well enough to start an exercise program.

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