ExerciseMetabolic SyndromeWalking

Walking vs weights for the metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

During the Endocrine Society meeting, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City presented the results of a comparison of aerobic training (eg, walking) vs resistance training (eg, weights).

First, the details.

  • 196 sedentary overweight adults with high cholesterol levels were randomly assigned to 8-month exercise programs.
    • Progressive resistance training: Weight machines 3 days a week with 3 sets per day of 8 to 12 repetitions each of 8 different exercises targeting all major muscle groups
    • Aerobic training: Treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical trainer for 120 minutes per week at about 75% maximum effort
    • Combined resistance and aerobic training regimens

And, the results.

  • Resistance training didn’t change the metabolic syndrome score.
    • The metabolic score is the degree of abdominal obesity, risk factor profile, and severity of coronary artery disease.
  • Aerobic training significantly improved the metabolic syndrome score vs at the start of the study.
    • But the change didn’t differ significantly from the change in the resistance training score.
  • Combined aerobic + resistance training significantly decreased the metabolic syndrome score and was significantly different from resistance training alone.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Resistance training was not effective at improving the metabolic syndrome score; however, aerobic training was effective. Combined aerobic training and resistance training was similarly effective but not different from aerobic training alone.”

They continued, “When weighing the time commitment versus health benefit, the data suggest that aerobic training (walking) alone was the most efficient mode of exercise for improving cardiometabolic health.”

7/24/11 22:03 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.