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Hack this study for "aerobic" vs "resistance training" for metabolic syndrome

by (18635)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:35 PM
Created December 27, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Study title is: Comparison of Aerobic Versus Resistance Exercise Training on Metabolic Syndrome (from the Studies of a Targeted Risk Reduction Intervention Through Defined Exercise ??? STRRIDE-AR/RT) in American Journal of Cardiology 2011. ePublish ahead of print.

Here is a link to the abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21741606

Since there are many, including myself, that would argue proper resistance training would trump "aerobic" training in improving health markers I found this study interesting.

The authors reach the conclusion that "AT/RT (this is Aerobic Training/Resistance Training) significantly decreased the MS (metabolic syndrome) score and was significantly different from RT alone. In conclusion, RT was not effective at improving the MS score; however, AT was effective. Combined AT and RT was similarly effective but not different from AT alone. When weighing the time commitment versus health benefit, the data suggest that AT alone was the most efficient mode of exercise for improving cardiometabolic health."

There are a couple authors, such as McGuff "Body By Science" being one, that report there is NO need for anything other than resistance training. So what do you think? Does this study reasonably refute the stance that resistance training is king?

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37177 · January 04, 2012 at 2:57 AM

Yes! Also, I think many fit people underestimate just how sedentary some of the overweight have been and how little activity is required to affect "aerobic" and "resistance" improvement.

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5477 · December 28, 2011 at 5:05 AM

@JayJay - Much agreed. :)

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18635 · December 28, 2011 at 3:20 AM

Thanks for the link mem! Sometimes hard to see if a particular study has been discussed already.

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5477 · December 28, 2011 at 1:34 AM

+1 - Your thinking makes sense. I'm not so sure that it nixes the study results, but, it is good analysis nonetheless. Thanks you.

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5477 · December 28, 2011 at 1:32 AM

+1 for stimulating more good discussion. I think what we "know" is always changing. And what we believe we"know" can be added to and improved upon.

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37177 · December 27, 2011 at 8:56 PM

I don't have an additional study so I won't post this as an answer, but as a sufferer or metabolic syndrome I've found both aerobic exercise and non-aerobic walking (3-4 miles) very helpful in up-shifting my metabolism and releasing fat stores. I never did RT by itself, only in conjunction with AT.

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5477 · December 28, 2011 at 1:29 AM

Actually, there was some discussion about this research before.

My response: Yes, the types and combinations of exercise done in those with some medical issues and those with belly fat, can make a difference.

I happen to think that this is especially true in women beyond their 20's.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/60972/are-you-doing-the-right-kinds-of-exercise-to-target-your-specific-goals#axzz1hms5ujV7

As you can see from the responses, there was more than a bit of resistance to the idea that for some folks, resistance training might not be the sole be-all-end-all.

I might add also, that since incorporating dancercise into circuit training (alternating stations of resistance and dancercise) I have experienced 100% cessation of L shoulder and L sacro-ileac areas of varying levels of chronic pain from two old injuries from '91 and '00. That was a great bonus I hadn't even been looking for! And at my age, it's a real coupe'!

One last thought - we need to get rid of the idea that all aerobics/cardio is CHRONIC cardio. I never work out for more than 30min. And it is not unusual for me to do a home workout of an intense 20 mins. There is nothing "chronic" about this. And I very much support the idea/evidence that chronic cardio is not about health and may be harmful.

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5477 · December 28, 2011 at 5:05 AM

@JayJay - Much agreed. :)

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18635 · December 28, 2011 at 3:20 AM

Thanks for the link mem! Sometimes hard to see if a particular study has been discussed already.

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3924 · January 04, 2012 at 2:14 AM

This study doesn't surprise me at all. Aerobic exercise increases insulin sensitivity in both healthy and diabetic/pre-diabetic people, and insulin sensitivity (which helps stop the blood sugar yo-yo)helps improve all the health markers that they were testing on patients with metabolic syndrome. Just like the Paleo diet improves insulin sensitivity and all of these health markers--it's one of the big arguments for a Paleo diet.

Also, remember that Paleolithic people were not sedentary. They didn't just lift heavy things, they also walked a lot--the same type of aerobic exercise that is most often prescribed to people with metabolic syndrome.

Some links (I'm sure you'll find a lot more if you google exercise and insulin sensitivity/resistance):

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10683091 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090901082406.htm

Of course here's a study that shows that resistance training added to aerobic exercise improves insulin sensitivity. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/11/2977

I think when all the evidence is in, we'll find moderate aerobic exercise like walking, along with resistance training, is important for optimal health.

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37177 · January 04, 2012 at 2:57 AM

Yes! Also, I think many fit people underestimate just how sedentary some of the overweight have been and how little activity is required to affect "aerobic" and "resistance" improvement.

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15226 · December 28, 2011 at 1:16 AM

I'm assuming that you are a fairly fit guy. Any resistance training that you, me, Doug McGuff, or anyone with a training history will do will very likely be at a high intensity.

Someone who is sedentary and overweight is not going to be able to do high intensity resistance training, nor should they. I don't mean to say they won't be working hard, but a lifting novice won't be anywhere near their 1 rep maxes.

When you get into the upper end of your range on something like a back squat or power clean, it will most likely cover your aerobic needs. Introductory submaximal weight training is a good thing no doubt, but I'm not surprised by the results of this study.

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5477 · December 28, 2011 at 1:34 AM

+1 - Your thinking makes sense. I'm not so sure that it nixes the study results, but, it is good analysis nonetheless. Thanks you.

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1078 · December 28, 2011 at 7:53 AM

"RT expends fewer calories in each duration of exercise session than does AT"

If this study included people who walked a lot and had little body fat, things might look very different. But perhaps for the overweight, sedentary participants, the top priority might be losing fat as quickly as possible, for which aerobic exercise is more time-efficient (it would be interesting to see resistance training and aerobic training compared while holding the calories constant). For the rest of us, this study might not be relevant.

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