Human Heart Diagram Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St.Louis have found that those who are overweight and then shed some kilos seem to get immediate heart benefit.

Senior author Dr. Sandor J Kovacs studied a group of healthy, overweight but not obese middle-aged men and women.

He found that a year-long regiment of either calorie restriction or exercise had positive effects on the function of their hearts.

The study also found that the loss of weight resulted in heart function being restored to a more youthful state.

“As we get older, our tissues become more fibrotic as collagen fibers accumulate. So the arteries and heart muscle stiffen, and the heart doesn’t relax as well after contracting,” said co-author of the study Dr. John Holloszy.

At the end of the yearlong study, both eth calorie restriction and exercise groups of volunteers lost 12% of their weight and 12% of their body mass index.

In both groups, the participants’ hearts responded to the weight loss by gaining the ability to relax more quickly, recovering some of the elasticity characteristics of younger heart tissue.