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High-Intensity Interval Training Effective In Weight Loss in Postmenopausal Obese Women

High-Intensity Interval Training Effective In Weight Loss in Postmenopausal Obese Women

U. of Scranton Pilot Study Demonstrates Potential of HIIT, Wearable Technology and Balanced Diet

A new study shows that, compared to endurance-based aerobic exercise like walking or swimming, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) may be more effective in achieving meaningful weight loss among obese postmenopausal women.

The pilot study done by University of Scranton researchers is welcome news for busy mothers and other midlife women who cannot find the time to go to the gym. The workout studied was a 10-minute commercially available HIIT program.

The findings also are good news for this category of women, who are much more likely to suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

The study was published Nov. 1 online in Menopause, The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, and will appear in print in the April 2018 issue (Volume 24.4). It was conducted by Principal investigator Joan A. Grossman and her colleagues, assistant professor of exercise science and sports; Danielle Arigo, PhD, assistant professor of psychology; and Jessica L. Bachman, assistant professor of exercise science and sports.

All the women in the study followed a calorie-restricted diet between 1,200 and 1,500 calories, met monthly with the professors and logged their progress weekly via Fitbit. At the start, middle and end of the study, participants underwent an assessment of nine different measures, including waist, bicep, abdomen, and thighs.

The 16-week pilot study sample size was relatively small. Six women followed the HIIT exercise regimen, while five followed an endurance exercise program of their choice. Each group graduated from three to five days per week of exercise.

The difference between the groups was meaningful. Participants in the HIIT group lost twice as much weight as those in the endurance group, and lost an additional six inches of body mass.

The small, homogenous sample means the findings don’t necessarily generalize to women unlike those in the study, but they do hold promise for future studies.

“Our findings support the feasibility and potential effectiveness of HIIT for weight loss and body composition changes in obese postmenopausal women,” says Professor Joan Grossman. “And it indicates that additional investigation of this approach is warranted to reduce postmenopausal chronic disease risk.”

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