Objective: To investigate the specific impact of resistance training (RT) with or without caloric restriction (CR) on physical capacity in obese older women.
Design: Forty-eight postmenopausal obese women, physically independent and between the ages of 55 and 75 years were recruited. The women were randomly assigned to one of four groups (1: RT [n = 12], 2: CR [n = 12], 3: CR + RT [n = 12], or 4: control group [C; n = 12]) for 3 months. CR and CR + RT groups participated in a weekly group session on nutrition, and RT and CR + RT groups took part in a resistance training program. Physical capacity was measured with 11 different performance tests. A global physical capacity score (range, 0-44) was then computed using quartiles of each test. Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.
Results: Body weight, total fat mass, percentage of fat mass, and body mass index (kg/m2) significantly decreased in the CR and CR + RT groups (P < 0.01), whereas only the CR group showed a significant decrease in lean body mass (P < 0.05) after the 3-month program. The global physical capacity score significantly improved in the RT group (10.0 ± 8.8%; P < 0.01), compared with the C group after 3 months.
Conclusion: Overall, the 3-month RT program alone had a greater effect on physical capacity than CR or CR + RT. Thus, a 3-month RT could help prevent long-term decreases in physical capacity in obese older women.
Resistance training had greater effects on physical capacity than caloric restriction alone or in combination with resistance training. Resistance training without weight loss could be a simple and effective approach to prevent long-term decreases in physical capacity in older obese women.
From the Health and Social Services Centre, Sherbrooke University Institute of Geriatrics, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.
Received March 14, 2008; revised and accepted April 24, 2008.
Funding/support: This research was supported by the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports of University of Sherbrooke. Dr. Dionne and Ms. Bouchard are supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Financial disclosure: None reported.
Summary for Table of Contents: Resistance training had greater effects on physical capacity than caloric restriction alone or combined with resistance training. Resistance training without weight loss could be a simple and effective approach to prevent long-term decreases in physical capacity in older obese women.
Address correspondence to: Martin Brochu, PhD, Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement, Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Sherbrooke, 1036, rue Belvédère Sud, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada J1H 4C4. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org