There may be a way for overweight and obese people to exercise safer without placing excess stress on their cardiovascular systems. The answer could be in cocoa! That’s according to an Australian study which suggests that consuming a beverage rich in cocoa flavanols may improve blood flow to the muscles and ease the demands on the heart during exercising.
The findings of the study were published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showing that after exercise, obese and overweight people had blood pressure levels that were 14% lower after they drank a beverage containing high amounts of cocoa flavanols (701mgs), compared to a group which drank a low flavanol drink (only 22mgs).
The high flavanol group also experienced a 6.1% increase in flow-mediated dilation…which is basically a measure of a blood vessel’s ability to relax.
I only have two issues with this study. Firstly, there is no mention of the beverage’s nutritional ingredients or contents. What was the protein, carbohydrate, and fat percentages? What else was in the beverage besides cocoa flavanols?
My other concern is that the researchers used the BMI (body mass index) to determine which subjects were overweight and which were obese. The BMI has many flaws and I wonder why the researchers didn’t use more accurate methods to measure the subjects.
Anyway, with regards to study in general, I’m sure this doesn’t mean you can scoff loads of chocolates and expect to exercise with ease. Please use common sense before starting any exercise regime. Start off slowly and move at your own comfortable pace, before building up and increasing your speed and resistance over time.