Exercise - a combination of aerobic and strength training is effective for weight loss
Researchers have found that doing just aerobic exercise (jogging, swimming, fast walking etc) or just strength training (weights) is not nearly as effective at helping you lose weight as a combination of the two.
The 16 week study (1) examined fifty sedentary but healthy men, average age 25. They were divided into four groups - a control group that did not exercise, a group that did aerobic exercise, a group that did weight training, and a group that did both forms of exercise.
The group that combined weight training with their aerobic exercise ate significantly fewer calories than those who did either aerobics or weight training alone, or those who did no exercise at all. The researchers found that the combined exercises had the best effect on blood sugar and fat levels. Importantly, this group also felt less hungry - their bodies were able to generate satiety hormones.
Usually, when people lose weight by doing exercise, they feel a little hungrier, and compensate by eating more. (2) But this study showed that the group doing both forms of exercise did not feel hungrier, so the benefits were not lost.
However, a more recent study (3) has confirmed that insulin is the key variable to control if you are trying to lose weight. Most people suffer from insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), where insulin levels are too high. Remember that insulin is the key fat storage hormone. If insulin is too high you will store fat, and it is almost impossible to lose it.
After correcting your diet, walking is the best exercise to lose weight. After 30 minutes of walking, your body starts to burn fat rather than stored sugar. To assist with weight loss, walk for an hour or two each day, at a fast pace. Choose to use the stairs, keep moving.
In Grow Youthful I explain that there are three main types of exercise - aerobic, strength, and stretching or flexibility, and why we need a combination of all three for long life.
1. Shaw, B. S. et al.
Self-reported dietary intake following endurance, resistance and concurrent endurance and resistance training.
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. 2008 Jun;7(2):255-259
2. Donnelly, J.E. and Smith, B.K. Is exercise effective for weight loss with ad libitum diet? Energy balance, compensation, and gender differences. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews 33(4), 169-174.">2005
3. Steele J, Plotkin D, Van Every D, Rosa A, Zambrano H, Mendelovits B, Carrasquillo-Mercado M, Grgic J, Schoenfeld BJ. Slow and Steady, or Hard and Fast? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Studies Comparing Body Composition Changes between Interval Training and Moderate Intensity Continuous Training. Sports (Basel). 2021 Nov 18;9(11):155. doi: 10.3390/sports9110155. PMID: 34822354; PMCID: PMC8619923.