Maintraining muscle may be as, or more important than losing weight

Half of my workouts are aerobics (walking, treadmill, elliptical), and half are resistance (floor exercise, Pilates, weight training).  Generally, I do two 30 minute sessions of aerobic and two 45 min session of resistance per week.  I do half weight training so as to build muscle.  It has been encouraging that as I have lost weight, I have been able to increase the amounts I can leg press.

Muscle helps burn calories 24/7/365.  As we age, we tend to lose muscle.  Two new studies suggest that low muscle mass is associated with diabetes.

Diabetics are more likely to have sarcopenia (low muscle mass).  Those with low muscle mass are more likely to have high blood sugar and prediabetes, especially if overweight.

Is this cause or effect?  Regardless, low muscle mass leads to frailty, disability, loss of independence…  Diabetes is a devastating disease that is growing rapidly in the US and around the world.  It  can cause heart attack, stroke, impotence, kidney failure, blindness…

Most people trying to lose weight focus on just trying to limit food.  If they do exercise, it tends to be aerobic, but not focused on buidling muscle.  Short-term calorie restriction(“dieting”) without exercise may be particularly dangerous and sets you up to gain even more fat afterwards.  An excellent explanation below from Sarcopenic Obesity: Just One of the Many Potential Perils of Weight Loss without Exercise. By Sheri Colberg, PhD

One main problem with large amounts of weight loss after you reach middle-age or older is that these losses consists of about 75 percent fat and 25 percent muscle for typical dieters, but when you gain weight back afterwards (which is extremely common within six months to a year), a larger percentage (up to 85 percent) of your lost weight is regained as body fat.

Having less muscle also lowers your caloric needs, making it easier to gain weight even when you’re eating the same number of calories after your diet as you were consuming beforehand.

Furthermore, people who frequently cycle between weight loss and regain eventually will have insufficient muscle left to carry their extra weight, making them become one of the “fat frail” with sarcopenic obesity likely to have a reduced quality of life.

Ladies should do resistance training, also.

Woman lifting weights

Dr John Ellis MD

Board-certified anesthesiologist, with expertise in cardiovascular anesthesia and the implications of obesity and sleep apnea in anesthesia. See for professional information. Dr. Ellis has used the strategies in here to: (1) lose 120 lbs over 18 months, (2) stop all antihypertensive medicines, and (3) no longer need CPAP treatment for sleep apnea.

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