Aerobic Plus Resistance Exercise in Obese Older Adults Improves Muscle Protein Synthesis and Preserves Myocellular Quality Despite Weight Loss

Cell Metab. 2019 Aug 6;30(2):261-273.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.06.008. Epub 2019 Jul 3.


Anabolic resistance and impaired myocellular quality contribute to age-related sarcopenia, which exacerbates with obesity. Diet-induced muscle mass loss is attenuated by resistance or aerobic plus resistance exercise compared to aerobic exercise in obese elderly. We assessed chronic effects of weight loss plus different exercise modalities on muscle protein synthesis response to feeding and myocellular quality. Obese older adults were randomized to a weight-management program plus aerobic, resistance, or combined aerobic and resistance exercise or to control. Participants underwent vastus lateralis biopsies at baseline and 6 months. Muscle protein synthesis rate increased more in resistance and combined than in control. Autophagy mediators' expression decreased more in combined than in aerobic, which experienced a higher increase in inflammation and mitochondrial regulators' expression. In obese elderly, combined aerobic and resistance exercise is superior to either mode independently for improving muscle protein synthesis and myocellular quality, thereby maintaining muscle mass during weight-loss therapy.

Trial registration: NCT01065636.

Keywords: aging; calorie restriction; diet; exercise; lifestyle intervention; muscle protein synthesis; muscle quality; sarcopenia; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Weight Loss


  • Muscle Proteins

Associated data