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Researchers find more reasons to lose weight now, rather than later

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

There are many things in life that people put off - but getting important blood tests and cholesterol tests should not be on that list. Similarly, losing weight should not be something that people wait to do until the time feels right for them. According to researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, losing weight at a younger age increases the chance of reversing heart damage, compared to shedding pounds later in life.

These findings should encourage people to stop making excuses and telling themselves that they will get around to exercising at some point, and starting working toward developing a healthy weight now.

The sooner the better
Researchers wanted to examine how losing weight would affect the hearts of obese mice. To come to their conclusions, they examined mice in the middle of their lives, compared to those that were young adults. The scientists discovered that the younger mice who lost weight saw positive changes in the health of their hearts, including normal diastolic function and a reduction in fat deposits in heart cells. However, the older mice did not see the same positive results.

While this study was conducted on mice, the results should still make overweight individuals stop and think about when they plan to start adopting a healthier lifestyle.

"We don't know whether the same principle would apply to humans as well, and if so, what the turning point would be. But the basic message is that losing weight sooner rather than later would be more beneficial," says Lili Barouch, M.D., the senior author of the study and a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "It certainly warrants further study to see if the findings would be similar in people."

The researchers added that while previous studies have shown that obese people who lose weight may experience improvements to their cardiovascular health, it has been unknown whether the length of time a person has been overweight makes a difference in the effect that weight loss will have on their heart health.

Tips for losing weight
Of course, starting a weight-loss program can be difficult, which is yet another reason why people should start a diet and exercise regimen at a younger age, if possible. Discovery Health recommends that individuals who are preparing to begin a weight-loss program need to get certain ideas out of their heads. For example, they shouldn't think that losing weight will lead to everlasting happiness or a new life, instead they should focus on the fact that it will make them healthier, which should be enough of a reward.

Furthermore, they need to remember that while dieting is one way to lose weight, it's a better idea for people to aim to change their eating habits permanently, not just for as long as it takes to drop a pant size. Individuals who incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diet permanently may have a better chance of keeping their weight down than those who revert back to poor eating habits after they shed pounds.

It's also important for people to remember that they need to ease into exercise if they haven't worked out in a while. Far too often people make a resolution to get healthy, and then go to the gym every single day for two weeks, burning themselves out and not returning. Instead, people should start out by making a goal to workout two or three times a week, and build their way up to four or five times. This will hopefully get them to a place where they have a regular exercise routine they can stick to.

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