A new study suggested that any exercise is beneficial for losing weight and decreasing abdominal fat in sedentary obese individuals. The study entitled “Effects of Exercise Amount and Intensity on Abdominal Obesity and Glucose Tolerance in Obese Adults: A Randomized TrialEffects of Exercise on Obesity and Glucose Intolerance” was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Dr. Robert Ross from the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, and further colleagues.
Obesity is a frequent, severe and costly disease, and more than one-third of adults and 17% of youth in the United States are obese, although the prevalence stayed constant between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. Obesity’s prevalence remains high, underscoring the importance of addressing the issue nationwide.
It has been known that exercise reduces obesity and obesity-associated glucose tolerance. Although it’s not known if increasing exercise intensity has extra health benefits when compared with fixed exercise amounts. This study aimed to discriminate the effects of exercise amount and intensity on abdominal obesity and glucose tolerance, a measure of blood glucose levels. The research team enrolled 300 abdominally obese adults aged between their 40s and 50s who had little to no regular exercise. They randomly distributed the participants to either a control group that stayed sedentary, or one of three groups that underwent supervised exercise for 5 days a week over 6 months. The 3 non-sedentary groups consisted of a first group that did slow walking for a half-hour; the second one performed an hour of slow walking; and the third a higher-intensity exercise with faster-paced walking.
The researchers observed that after 6 months all three non-sedentary groups had lost a small amount of weight and 1 or 2 inches from their waistlines on average. The high-intensity group was the only group showing an improvement in blood glucose levels.
“The people in this study were middle-aged, sedentary, and abdominally obese,” Dr. Ross said in a news release. “We didn’t have them running, ‘High-intensity’ just meant walking briskly on a treadmill.”
Overall, the authors concluded that fixed amounts of exercise independent of exercise intensity led to similar reductions in abdominal obesity while reduction in 2-hour glucose level was limited to the high-intensity exercise group.