Effects of aerobic or combined aerobic resistance exercise on body composition in overweight and obese adults: gender differences. A randomized intervention study

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2013 Feb;49(1):1-11. Epub 2012 May 8.


Background: In the literature, it is not yet clear whether sex may affect the outcomes of exercise training in obese adults.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate gender difference in the effects of combined aerobic resistance exercise (ARE) versus aerobic exercise (AE) alone on body composition in overweight and obese adults.

Design: Randomized clinical trial.

Setting: University-based outpatient clinic.

Population: Sixty-five healthy, untrained overweight and obese men and women

Methods: They were randomized into one of two intervention groups; AE group (N.=33) performed leg cycle exercises with increasing duration and frequency; ARE group (N.=32) performed additionally progressive weight-resistance exercises for the upper and lower parts of body. Both groups were asked not to change their diet. Body composition including percentage of fat (PF), fat mass (FM) and fat free mass (FFM) in regional and whole body was determined by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at baseline and week 12.

Results: ARE leads to more gains on regional and whole body FFM than AE. ARE was more effective in increasing the FFM of arms, trunk and whole body and decreasing PF of trunk in men and superior on reducing FM of legs in women when comparing with AE.

Conclusion: In order to reduce the trunk fat in men and leg fat in women, resistance exercise can be added into an aerobic training program.

Clinical rehabilitation impact: Dissimilar results of exercises on sex obtained in our study serves as a guide for prescribing exercises in overweight and obese men and women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / rehabilitation*
  • Overweight / rehabilitation
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss
  • Young Adult