Aerobic Morning in Vietnam

Aerobics, Weights, and Weight

Which is more important? Aerobics or weights? Which type of fitness activity might do more to help you maintain a healthy body weight? An important new study in Obesity this month confirms that this is a false choice. Aerobics, weights, and weight go together. The combination of both aerobic and strengthening exercise helps more with maintaining a healthy weight than either alone does.

1.7 Million Adults from the BRFSS

Jason Bennie et al studied physical activity patterns for 1.7 million U.S. adults. They examined whether they met guidelines for aerobic or strengthening exercise. By meeting either of these guidelines, subjects were 30 percent less likely to have obesity. But meeting guidelines for both meant that the odds were 50 percent less.

These data came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). So these are self-reports and we need to take them with a grain of salt. It’s also worth noting that that this study provides correlations – not evidence for cause and effect.

Both Strength and Aerobics

Nonetheless the message is clear enough. There’s plenty of corroborating evidence on this subject. We would be wise to consider the importance of both strength and aerobics in our physical activity. In a commentary alongside this study, Tim Church notes how impressive this work is:

This is by far the largest study to ever examine the combination of aerobic and strength training, and it provides further evidence for the value of combining the 2 exercise modalities. Of note, BMI does not differentiate fat mass from lean muscle mass, and strength training promotes muscle mass, which creates the opportunity for misclassification; yet the weight training was still found to be associated with a lower risk of obesity as defined by BMI.

Thus the study is getting well-deserved attention. In the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds offers appropriate caution about the complexity of this subject. Even so, she makes it clear enough. Aerobics, weights, and weight have a relationship to good health that deserves your attention.

Click here for the study, here for the commentary, and here for more from the New York Times.

Aerobic Morning in Vietnam, photograph © ePi.Longo / flickr

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February 13, 2020

2 Responses to “Aerobics, Weights, and Weight”

  1. February 14, 2020 at 2:30 am, David Brown said:

    Which is more important? Aerobics or weights? Isn’t that like asking which wing on an airplane is more important? Animals don’t have a problem with obesity unless man tampers with the food. In a book chapter entitled “Importance of Dietary Fatty Acid Profile and Experimental Conditions in the Obese Insulin-Resistant Rodent Model of Metabolic Syndrome” Annadie Krygsman wrote, It is true that the vast advancement in technological developments has led to a reduction in physical activity worldwide, but as obesity now involves infants and the populations of developing countries, this obesity pandemic cannot be attributed to this alone.In addition, laboratory and other domesticated animals have also been subject to the increased prevalence of obesity, despite having largely unchanged living conditions for many years.”

    Clearly, the obesity epidemic is not the result of failure to get sufficient exercise of one sort or another. Something else is at work. This may be part of the problem.

  2. February 15, 2020 at 8:10 am, Liesl said:

    “Lazy lifestyle” is a subjective phrase, it needs to be defined in measurable terms.