To investigate the specific impact of resistance training (RT) with or without caloric restriction (CR) on physical capacity in obese older women.
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.
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.
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.