(HealthDay News) –- For sedentary, overweight, or obese adults, aerobic training (AT) seems to be the optimal mode of exercise for reducing fat mass and body mass, while a combined approach of AT and resistance training (RT) increases the time commitment with no added loss compared with AT alone, according to a study published in the Dec. 15 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Leslie H. Willis, from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and colleagues examined the optimal mode of exercise for obesity reduction in a trial involving 119 sedentary, obese, or overweight adults who were randomly allocated to an eight-month exercise protocol of AT, RT, or a combination of the two (AT/RT).

The researchers found that, compared with RT, AT and AT/RT both reduced more total body mass and fat mass, with no significant difference between them. Significantly greater increases in lean body mass were seen with RT and AT/RT vs. AT. The AT/RT program required double the time commitment without resulting in significantly more fat or body mass reductions compared with AT.

“If increasing muscle mass and strength is the goal, a program including RT is required,” the authors write. “However, balancing time commitments against health benefits accrued, it appears that AT alone is the optimal mode of exercise for reducing fat mass and total body mass.”

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)