The best type of exercise for weight loss is the one that suits the individual, research suggests.
The study compared endurance exercise, strength training, a combination, or just trying to meet the weekly target for physical activity in whatever way works.
All three approaches produced a similar amount of weight loss, when combined with a low-calorie diet.
The results come from a study of 96 obese people who took part in a 22-week program.
Everyone in the study reduced their calorie intake while trying different types of exercise.
Some did endurance exercise like cycling, running or using a elliptical machine.
Some did strength training, such as bench presses, bicep curls and squats.
Still others did a combination of the two.
A comparison group were just told to stay active and meet the minimum activity guidelines.
These involve doing 30-60 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week.
Things like taking the stairs and walking briskly would count.
The results showed that all the types of exercise and diet combinations reduced body weight, waistline, fat and increased lean muscle mass.
The authors write:
“The present study shows that, when adhered to alongside a hypocaloric diet, different exercise training programs (endurance, strength, or their combination) or the following of physical activity recommendations are equally efficient in terms of improving body weight and body composition variables in obesity management.”
One calorie burned in exercise is not the same as one not ingested.”
Other studies have suggested that one particular type of activity may be best for weight loss.
For example, one study found that jogging is the best exercise for those with a genetic susceptibility to weight gain.
A range of studies have found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best exercises for weight loss.
However, HIIT can be difficult for people to stick to.
In the end, the current study’s suggestion that it comes down to the individual is the best advice.
The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology (Benito et al., 2015).