Effects of high-impact aerobics vs. low-impact aerobics and strength training in overweight and obese women

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017 Mar;57(3):278-288. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.05857-X. Epub 2015 Nov 26.


Background: Regular exercise is one of the factors determining weight reduction and fat loss, and at the same time it is associated with important health benefits. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of two different modalities of exercise on changes in body composition, physical fitness, and CVR factors in healthy overweight and obese women.

Methods: Thirty-two women were randomly assigned in 2 groups: a high-impact aerobics group (HIA, N.=16) and a low-impact aerobics combined with a strength training program group (LIAS, N.=16). Body weight (BW), body composition, aerobic fitness (AF), speed and agility, vertical-jump distance (VJ), abdominal muscle endurance (AME), the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings, heart rate (HR), systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), HDL-c, LDL-c, apolipoprotein A-I (Apo A-I) and B (Apo B) were measured at baseline and at the end of the training period.

Results: A significant decrease was noted in all anthropometric variables excepting fat-free mass (FFM) which increased in LIAS group (P<0.05). Comparisons between groups noted significant differences in favor of HIA group in BW, fat percentage and FM, and in favor of LIAS group in FFM (P<0.05 for all). DBP, HR, TC, LDL-c, TG, and Apo B significantly decreased, and HDL-c and Apo A-I significantly increased in both groups. No significant modifications were noted in SBP and glucose concentrations. Significant improvements in all physical fitness components were also noted in HIA group (P<0.05), however, only the AF, VJ, AME, and the flexibility were improved in LIAS group (P<0.01). Comparison between groups reported that values related to VJ and AME were higher in LIAS compared to HIA group (P<0.01).

Conclusions: Our findings noted that a 24-week of HIA or LIAS training improved body composition, physical fitness and CVR factors in overweight and obese women. Nevertheless, the use of each training method remains tributary to wished effects. In fact, HIA training method is more effective in body weight reduction and fat loss, however, LIAS training method is more appropriate when the improvement of FFM, aerobic fitness and muscle strength is claimed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein A-I / blood
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Weight Loss


  • APOA1 protein, human
  • Apolipoprotein A-I
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol