Did you know that you could make functional fitness more fun, and even educational, by introducing two exercise routines, Aerobics and weights? A recent study led by Louis Burchett of Drexel University might shed some light on that.

Burchett and colleagues recruited individuals who had no previous fitness experience. The study group, which included nine individuals between the ages of 32 and 54 who had previously failed to meet their weight loss goals, quickly lost weight.

The study participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group continued using the older, more traditional high-impact aerobics routine, while the other group was asked to switch to a weights-heavy version of the same program. The new group was asked to work out for a set of 10 weeks, carrying out strength and cardio exercises while engaging in a consistent routine of three Aerobics sessions each week.

At the end of 10 weeks, the participants of the weights-heavy Aerobics routine had gone from having gained a total of 3.85 kilograms to having lost a total of 6.11 kilograms. They also experienced increases in all of the metabolic and cardiovascular benefits associated with healthy weight loss, as measured by the six different measures of metabolic profiles, from % fat lost and % body mass index, to % resting metabolic rate and % VO2 max. The study participants who were using aerobics at the same time, rather than weights, did not experience a decrease in aerobic fitness or increases in their VO2 max.

Interestingly, both weight groups experienced a significant decrease in the build-up of body fat over the course of the study. The leaner group saw a reduction of 3.46 kilograms (7.5 lbs.), while the heavier group’s amount of body fat declined by 2.92 kg (6.6 lbs.).

To explain these changes, the study suggests that aerobic training, which produces sweating, increases feelings of dehydration and fatigue, making people less motivated to put in the effort it takes to perform aerobics on a weight-heavy program. From there, researchers speculate that raising weights to higher levels, without weight training, might lead to metabolic fat accumulation.

Participants in the study also reported feeling that they achieved their weight loss goals even more quickly than they had expected. An author on the study commented, “We have shown for the first time that incorporating weights into aerobic exercise, via Aerobics, may be as effective as using weights to achieve weight loss through barbell exercise alone, but without the unusual physical and psychological demands associated with barbell training.”

The authors conclude that, “continued study of the combination of Aerobics and weights as a new approach to help prevent and manage weight loss may be beneficial in the long term.”

Read the full story at MassLive.

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