Research has found that walking more and losing weight can help to improve mobility among obese adults with poor cardiovascular health.
Conducted by Wake Forest University, the study suggested that mobility could be improved by as much as 20 per cent.
The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and looked at 288 participants over the course of five years.
According to the researchers, their findings run counter to the common belief that it is unhealthy for older adults to lose weight.
Jack Rejeski, professor of health and exercise science, commented: "To improve mobility, physical activity has to be coupled with weight loss.
"This is one of the first large studies to show that weight loss improves the functional health of older people with cardiovascular disease."
The research found tht the most dramatic improvement in mobility was seen among participants who combined an increase in physical activity with weight loss; they were shown to have an improved mobility of an average of five per cent.
However, those who began with the most limited mobility, showed improvements of up to 20 per cent.