Multicomponent exercise interventions were associated with greater improvements in measures of cardiometabolic health in people with overweight or obesity vs. single-component exercise interventions, according to a meta-analysis.
A multicomponent exercise approach for patients with overweight or obesity, such as combined aerobic and resistance training and hybrid training, was tied to improved body composition, blood lipids, glycemic control, BP and cardiorespiratory fitness, according to data published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
“Exercise for weight loss and health promotion is one of the top health and fitness trends worldwide,” Alexios Batrakoulis, PhD, of the department of physical education and sport sciences at the University of Thessaly in Trikala, Greece, and colleagues wrote. “Although it is clear that exercise is crucial for controlling body mass, reducing body fat, and thus improving cardiometabolic health and CVD risk in obesity, the comparative efficacy of different exercise modes needed to achieve this remains largely unclear, mainly due to lack of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials in this field.”
To better understand efficacy of exercise on cardiometabolic health among individuals with overweight or obesity, researchers conducted the present meta-analysis of 81 trials of various exercise interventions. The meta-analysis included 4,331 individuals with overweight or obesity (59% women; mean age, 39 years).
Researchers evaluated the comparative efficacy of five specific exercise modalities: continuous endurance training, interval training, resistance training, combined aerobic and resistance training, and hybrid-type training.
Continuous endurance training was defined as 60% to 70% max heart rate, 3 to 5 days per week for 176 minutes per week; interval training was defined as 85% to 95% max heart rate, 2 to 3 days per week for 91 minutes per week; resistance training was defined as 70% to 80% of one repetition maximum, 2 to 3 days per week for 126 minutes per week; combined training was defined as 3 to 5 days per week for 187 minutes per week; and hybrid-type training was defined as 75% to 85% max heart rate, 2 to 3 days per week for 128 minutes per week.
Cardiometabolic health measures of interest included body composition, blood lipids, glycemic control, BP and cardiorespiratory fitness. Exercise modalities were ranked based on the magnitude of impact on each measure of cardiometabolic health.
Researchers reported that the two exercise modalities that had the greatest positive impact on all components of cardiometabolic health among individuals with overweight or obesity were combined aerobic and resistance training, followed by hybrid training.
Moreover, improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, blood lipids and glycemic control were observed for interval training, whereas continuous endurance training appeared to benefit only body composition and resistance training only appeared to benefit BP among individuals with overweight or obesity.
In a subgroup analysis, researchers observed that the cardiometabolic effects of different exercise modalities were mediated by sex.
“Combined training appears to be the most effective exercise intervention, whereas hybrid training is the second-best option, for inducing overall improvements in cardiometabolic health in overweight and obese adults,” the researchers wrote. “The main results of this network meta-analysis corroborate the latest international guidelines on physical activity and exercise for this cohort highlighting the importance of a multicomponent physical activity approach incorporating aerobic and muscle-strengthening training into the same session as observed for combined and hybrid training.”