Aerobic Exercise May Benefit Weight Loss More Than Resistance Training
Published in December, 2012 issue of Natural Standard's Integrative Medicine Newsletter
Republished with permission of Natural Standards Research Collaboration ©2012


A recent study suggests that aerobic exercise may be more beneficial for weight loss than resistance training.

Aerobic exercise is physical activity that depends on oxygen to meet energy requirements during exercise through aerobic metabolism. Also called cardio, aerobic exercise can typically be maintained for an extended time period. Resistance training refers to any physical activity that uses different muscle groups to develop and maintain muscular strength, endurance, power and muscle mass. There are many different types of resistance training, some of which may use resistance bands or tubes, free weights such as dumbbells, or machines.

In a recent study, researchers randomly assigned 119 inactive overweight or obese adults to one of three groups. The first group participated in resistance training, the second group participated in aerobic training and the third group participated in a combination of aerobic and resistance training. Fat mass, lean body mass and total body mass were evaluated as the main outcome measures.

The researchers found that total body mass and fat mass reduced significantly more in the aerobic training and combination aerobic/resistance training groups when compared to the resistance training group alone. However, the combination training required twice the amount of time than just aerobic training alone. Furthermore, body mass and fat mass reductions were not significantly more in the combination group than they were in the just the aerobic training group. Lean body mass increased significantly more in the resistance training and combination training group when compared to the aerobic training group.

The authors concluded that when considering the required time commitment and effectiveness in body and fat mass reductions, aerobic training may be more beneficial for weight loss than resistance training or a combination of resistance and aerobic training. Resistance training may be more effective in increasing lean body mass. Further research is warranted.

In addition to aerobic and resistance training, many other therapies have been studied for their potential to expedite weight loss. The role of whey protein in appetite and body weight control has been studied. Whey protein may aid in weight loss; however, further study is required to confirm study findings. Additionally, studies suggest that 5-HTP may reduce eating behaviors, lessen caloric intake and promote weight loss in obese individuals.

Reference:
Willis LH, Slentz CA, Bateman LA, Shields AT, Piner LW, Bales CW, Houmard JA, Kraus WE. "Effects of Aerobic and/or Resistance Training on Body Mass and Fat Mass in Overweight or Obese Adults" Journal of Applied Physiology 2012 Sep 27.