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Incorporating Strength Training as Part of a Weight Loss Program

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Incorporating Strength Training as Part of a Weight Loss Program

— By Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D.

The medical benefits of aerobic exercises are well-established and frequently recommended as the means to increase physical activity for people with obesity. Though less frequently discussed, incorporating anaerobic exercises into a fitness program also provides benefits, with the best outcomes resulting from a combined aerobic/anaerobic program.

Muscle mass diminishes with underuse and aging, and leads to an increase in body fat, and anaerobic exercise helps to maintain lean muscle. While aerobic activities lead to greater weight loss, anaerobic exercises via strength and resistance training can also contribute to weight loss and management through an increased metabolism, which helps burn calories more efficiently.

Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise

As with all exercise programs, any new activity should start slowly and build up. Studies have found that doing three minutes of anerobic exercises involving half-squats, calf lifts, gluteal contractions and knee lifts, every 20 to 30 minutes while sitting after a meal reduces postprandial glucose and glycemic response.1, 2 Another study found a 72 percent reduction in the need for anti-diabetic medication among patients who followed a 16-week program of resistance training as compared to the control group.3

Other benefits of anaerobic exercise include:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Positive effect on lipid metabolism and lipid profile
  • Increased bone density
  • Improved balance, which reduces the risk of falling
  • Reduced symptoms associated with arthritis and back pain
  • Improved thinking and learning skills
  • Mental health benefits through increases self-esteem and confidence

As with many so things these days, strength-training exercises designed for people of all weights and ability levels can be found on YouTube or other online sources. Many require little investment beyond resistance bands or light weights and can be done at home.

Anaerobic Exercise Combined with a Very Low Calorie Diet

Regardless of the type of physical activity, it is unlikely to result in the five to 10 percent weight loss necessary for people with obesity to experience health benefits unless it is done in conjunction with caloric restriction. A Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) program, such as New Direction, addresses the nutritional and dietary needs of patients with obesity. Importantly, it also provides a much-needed medically-supervised team approach to provide the supervision and support that many feel is missing in their weight loss program. A VLCD program addresses patients’ weight loss goals and offers safe, quick, noticeable results to provide the motivation to continue towards weight loss success.


  1. Interrupting Sitting Time with Simple Resistance Activities Lowers Postprandial Insulinemia in Adults with Overweight or Obesity
  2. Regular Brief Interruptions to Sitting after a High-Energy Evening Meal Attenuate
  3. Resistance Training and Type 2 Diabetes

About the Author: Dr. Andrea Pampaloni has over 20 years of communication experience across corporate, academic, nonprofit and government sectors. She provides research and writing services on a range of business issues and industry-specific topics to prepare white papers, articles, proposals, presentations, technical content, and speaking points, as well as marketing-communications content such as blogs, website content, newsletters, news releases and award submissions. Dr. Pampaloni’s research findings have been presented at national and international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, and she is a ghostwriter for three books, a Forbes article, and several corporate blogs.

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