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We know that dieting and regular exercise lead to weight loss. But according to a new study, diet and exercise do not do just that. They keep the heart healthy, even if the weight does not drop dramatically.
A new study by the American Heart Association found that obese seniors who combined aerobic exercise with a moderate reduction in daily calories had greater improvements in heart health than their peers who only exercised or exercised with a more restrictive diet.
The research
The research was conducted on a random sample. There were 160 participants between the ages of  65 - 79 who led a sedentary life.
The participants were divided into three groups. The first group did not change their diet at all but did more exercise, the second did exercise and cut 200 calories from the diet and the third did exercise and cut 600 calories. The exercise was 30 minutes on a treadmill four times a week.
The researchers studied the speed at which blood passes through the aorta and the distensibility, that is, the ability of the aorta to dilate and contract.
The results
Participants who exercised and cut 200 calories a day had a 21% increase in distensibility.
There was not much change in aortic function for the group who only exercised or for the exercise group who cut 600 calories per day.
Compared to the first group, the researchers found that changes in the body — including those affecting body mass index (BMI), total fat mass, body fat percentage, abdominal fat, and waist circumference- were higher in the two groups that cut calories.
Also, weight loss was similar in both groups, regardless of calorie restriction.
The conclusion
This research has proven that in order to improve your heart health and your overall fitness, you do not need to make huge changes that include extreme and strict diets and intense exercise.
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