Aerobic training (AT) improves the metabolic syndrome (MS) and its component risk factors; however, to our knowledge, no randomized clinical studies have addressed whether resistance training (RT) improves the MS when performed alone or combined with AT. Sedentary, overweight dyslipidemic men and women, aged 18 to 70 years completed a 4-month inactive run-in period and were randomized to 1 of 3 eight-month exercise programs (n = 196). The exercise programs were (1) RT (3 days/week, 3 sets/day of 8 to 12 repetitions of 8 different exercises targeting all major muscle groups); (2) AT (∼120 minutes/week at 75% of the maximum oxygen uptake), and (3) AT and RT combined (AT/RT) (exact combination of AT and RT). Of the 196 randomized patients, 144 completed 1 of the 3 exercise programs. The 86 participants with complete data for all 5 MS criteria were used in the present analysis, and a continuous MS z score was calculated. Eight months of RT did not change the MS score. AT improved the MS score (p <0.07) and showed a trend toward significance compared to RT (p <0.10). AT/RT significantly decreased the MS 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.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00275145.
Published by Elsevier Inc.