Regular exercise is recognised by health experts as a key weapon in the battle against chronic lifestyle-related diseases, but many health conscious adults find themselves divided into either those who perform ‘aerobic’ exercises like running and walking, or those who go to the gym for ‘resistance’ or strength training.
A new study led by DCU researchers has discovered that for people over the age of 65, a combination of aerobic and strength work, known as ‘concurrent’ training, is more effective than either one done separately.
Concurrent training improves a number of health markers, increases muscle strength and there is a “marked effect” in reducing trunk or ‘belly’ fat, a joint team of researchers from the School of Health and Human Performance at Dublin City University (DCU) and University College Dublin (UCD) has concluded.
More than 80 participants over 65 years of age and medically stable took part in the 12-week exercise programme and the key findings reveal that when it comes to the over 65 age group:
Concurrent exercise training is the most effective and likely to simultaneously target improvements in muscle strength, aerobic fitness and physical function in a time-efficient manner;
When time-matched, concurrent exercise training is more effective in increasing walking speed, leg strength and decreasing belly fat;
The “marked effect” on reducing fat was observed in some of the subjects after only 6 weeks of the 12-week programme;
Researchers regard reducing belly fat as a “key factor” in combating lifestyle diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes;
Time constraints are often cited as an obstacle to exercise training and this research shows that results can be achieved with exercise sessions lasting less than 25 minutes but performed at least three times per week.