Exercise and diet are essential for any weight loss program. The conventional approach is to begin both at the same time with the reasoning being that both are important therefore it must be most effective to exercise and diet at the same time.
A recent study concluded that exercising first protects patients with metabolic syndrome from muscle loss.”To preserve muscle in metabolic syndrome, irrespective of age, exercise should precede the initiation of weight loss and not be started at the same time as diet,” said lead study author Yonit Marcus, MD, PhD, endocrinologist at the Institute of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension of Tel Aviv Medical Center in Tal Aviv, Israel.
Exercise helps maintain or even increase lean body mass (LBM),where as dieting alone will result in a loss of LBM, primarily muscle mass. Preserving LBM especially bone and muscle mass is essential because our ability to move and physically function is dependent upon it. As we age, we experience a decline in LBM ,but we can offset or slow down the gradual decline with exercise.
Although the study was relatively small (38 subjects), the results are promising. The authors note that all patients who gained or lost less than 2.9% of muscle mass were those individuals who began exercising prior to the program and who continued throughout the year. The bottom line is….the more LBM you can maintain,the better it is, and exercise is necessary for that to happen.