A team of researchers examined the effects of strength training, endurance exercise and a combination of the two and found that when it comes to the battle of the bulge, the type of exercise makes little difference.

Working with obese subjects, of which half were men and half were women, ranging in age from 18 to 52 years old, the researchers organised a 22-week intervention.

Participants followed a diet that reduced their calorie intake to 30% fewer calories than each individual burned in a day.

They were assigned at random to one of three groups in which they participated in one of the aforementioned types of exercise or a combination of the two.

Running, cycling and using elliptical machines were among the choices for those who participated in endurance exercises alone.

The strength training group performed squats, shoulder press, barbell row, biceps curl, lateral split, front split and bench press exercises.

Reduce calories for effective weight loss

To lose weight and and gain health, the right diet is needed. Photo: Shutterstock

The combination group took part in cycling, treadmill or elliptical machine use in addition to performing squats, bench press, front split and rowing machine use.

Regardless of what group they were in, all participants worked out three times a week for 51 minutes at intensity levels that elevated gradually over the course of the study.

In addition, they were advised to get between a half hour and an hour of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week.

They were advised to walk instead of drive, use the stairs instead of the elevator and to make other commonly cited lifestyle changes that increase physical activity.

Most participants lost significant weight, narrowed their waist circumference and lowered their total fat mass while increasing lean mass, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Differences in the effectiveness between the three exercise programmes were negligible, leading the researchers to conclude they were equally efficient.

When accompanied by a diet of reduced calories, exercise has been proven to help lead to weight loss, but a recent editorial in the British Medical Journal suggests there is a widespread misunderstanding that exercise itself can help shed pounds.

The strongly worded editorial acknowledges that regular physical activity has numerous health benefits but that weight loss is not one of them.

The food industry, according to the editorial, has deceived the public into this false belief in a manner they compare to the tactics of the tobacco industry.

The editorial provides the example of a popular soft drink maker, whose advertising campaign suggests that drinking the soda is fine if you exercise. In reality, say the authors, sugar calories that come from such beverages promote fat storage and hunger. – AFP Relaxnews