Here’s an interesting new study which examined the effects of exercise intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition in obese women with the metabolic syndrome.
As many of you know, metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors linked to obesity that increase your chance for heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and stroke.
In this study, twenty-seven middle-aged women with a body mass index of about 34 (a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese) and with metabolic syndrome completed one of three sixteen-week programs. One group of seven participants did no-exercise training (the control group), a second group of eleven participants exercised 5 days/week at an intensity less than or equal to lactate threshold and a third group of nine participants exercised 3 days/week at an intensity above lactate threshold.
At the end of the sixteen weeks the researchers found that those performing high intensity exercise significantly reduced their total abdominal fat, abdominal subcutaneous fat and abdominal visceral fat. There were no significant changes in either the control or the low intensity exercise group.
The researchers concluded that body composition changes are affected by the intensity of the exercise with high intensity exercise more effectively reducing total abdominal fat, subcutaneous abdominal fat, and abdominal visceral fat in obese women with the metabolic syndrome.
This study is no big surprise if you consider the types of training in the context of our Paleolithic ancestors. The idea is that our bodies and minds are product of millions of years of evolution. And since our genes haven’t changed over the past 40,000 years, our DNA is that of the hunter-gatherers.
And with regards to exercise, our genes are expecting to see the same kind of exercise that our ancient ancestors performed which involved a lot of sprinting to catch wild game or to flee from predators.