In a recent study, researchers designed a 10-week, easy-to-perform, personalized, progressive vigorous-intensity interval training program.
They found that exercise could help reduce belly fat in older men who are obese.
The research was done by a team from Umea University in Sweden. The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Obesity is a big risk factor of many health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Previous research has shown that belly fat is particularly harmful to people’s health. However, reducing belly fat requires lots of effort and it is hard to achieve.
In this study, the team examined adults from the Healthy Aging Initiative (HAI), an ongoing study conducted in northern Sweden.
The men who were in the exercise group participated in a 10-week-long progressive exercise program consisted of short, supervised training sessions, performed in a group setting, three times per week.
A total of 36 participants were taught to perform body-weight-training exercises with minimal use of equipment, at first for 18 minutes, alternating exercise with rest periods in a ratio of 40/20 (for example, 40 seconds of work and then 20 seconds of rest).
The people worked up to a 36-minute training period as their training volume gradually increased.
Another group of 36 participants maintained their daily living and routines throughout the study and served as a control group.
The researchers found that the people in the exercise group decreased their fat mass by nearly two pounds and gained about one pound of muscles compared to the control group.
These people had a nearly tripled decrease in their total fat mass compared with participants in the control group.
In addition, the exercise strongly decreased belly fat in the men but not the women who participated.
The team explains that 10 weeks of vigorous-intensity interval training could improve body composition in older adults with belly fat.
They hope the easy-to-perform exercises, designed to fit a home-environment without the need for expensive gym equipment, could be generalized to other settings and groups of people.
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