Introduction: Physical exercise is an important component for the treatment of obesity. Little information is available about the best and safety form of physical exercise concerning the type and volume-intensity to be prescribed for individuals with morbid obesity.
Aim: To investigate the effect of physical exercise programs in medical and surgical treatment for morbid obesity.
Methods: Was used the systematic search model by databases of the Virtual Health Library in "Science in General Health" (Medline, Lilacs and Ibecs) and PubMed using the following headings: morbid obesity, severe obesity, grade 3 obesity, exercise and physical activity. Were selected papers that used physical exercise programs as an intervention in the treatment for morbid obese patients and those who were in accordance with the inclusion criteria.
Results: Were selected 13 articles. Eight were conducted with individuals in clinical treatment, one in patients awaiting bariatric surgery and four in the postoperative period. It was observed that all selected studies used aerobic activities and six also included strength exercises on their programs.
Conclusions: Aerobic and strength exercises programs proved being important components in the treatment of morbid obesity. Special care when establishing the volume-intensity exercise is required for adherence to treatment, and a proposal for a valid individualized exercise programs.