Background: Excess abdominal adiposity has been associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Though aerobic exercises significantly reduce general adiposity, it has no effect on abdominal adiposity. However the effects of a combination of aerobic and abdominal strengthening exercises on abdominal adiposity are not known.
Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the effects of a 12-week aerobic and abdominal strengthening exercise programme on abdominal adiposity in sedentary adults.
Methods: A total of 105 consenting sedentary adults participated in this study. They were randomly recruited from the Ibadan metropolis. Participants went through exercise training which included aerobic and abdominal strengthening exercises. Exercise was carried out thrice weekly for 12 consecutive weeks. Abdominal adiposity indices of Waist Circumference (WC), Waist-to-Hip Ratio (WHR), Sum of Abdominal Skinfold (SAS) were measured at baseline, 4th, 8th and 12th weeks. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation and repeated measures ANOVA at p = 0.05.
Results: 74 participants with mean age (34.8 +/- 9.1 yrs) completed the study. At the end of the 12 -week exercise, there was significant reduction in WC (94.8 +/- 10.2 to 89.2 +/- 9.8 cm), WHR (0.89 0.06 to 0.86 +/- 0.05) and SAS (88.9 +/- 10.9 to 77.3+/- 13.5 mm) among the female participants. Within the male participants, there was significant reduction in WC (88.5 +/- 7.4 to 83.8 +/- 4.7 cm), and in SAS (60.1 +/- 8.4 to 54.5 +/- 8.5 mm), but no statistically significant difference was observed in the WHR (0.88 +/- 0.04 to 0.87 +/- 0.06).
Conclusion: Twelve-week aerobic and abdominal strengthening exercise programme, without caloric restriction, reduced abdominal adiposity in apparently-healthy sedentary adults, hence it is recommended for its beneficial effects on abdominal adiposity.