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Mayo Clin Proc. 2017 Aug;92(8):1214-1222. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.02.018. Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Association of Resistance Exercise, Independent of and Combined With Aerobic Exercise, With the Incidence of Metabolic Syndrome.

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Department of Physiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Electronic address:
Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.
Department of Education, University of Almería, Almería, Spain.
Department of Physical Education and Sport, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain.
Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute, Ochsner Clinical School-University of Queensland School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA.
Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.



To determine the association of resistance exercise, independent of and combined with aerobic exercise, with the risk of development of metabolic syndrome (MetS).


The study cohort included adults (mean ± SD age, 46±9.5 years) who received comprehensive medical examinations at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas, between January 1, 1987, and December, 31, 2006. Exercise was assessed by self-reported frequency and minutes per week of resistance and aerobic exercise and meeting the US Physical Activity Guidelines (resistance exercise ≥2 d/wk; aerobic exercise ≥500 metabolic equivalent min/wk) at baseline. The incidence of MetS was based on the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. We used Cox regression to generate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs.


Among 7418 participants, 1147 (15%) had development of MetS during a median follow-up of 4 years (maximum, 19 years; minimum, 0.1 year). Meeting the resistance exercise guidelines was associated with a 17% lower risk of MetS (HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.73-0.96; P=.009) after adjusting for potential confounders and aerobic exercise. Further, less than 1 hour of weekly resistance exercise was associated with 29% lower risk of development of MetS (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.56-0.89; P=.003) compared with no resistance exercise. However, larger amounts of resistance exercise did not provide further benefits. Individuals meeting both recommended resistance and aerobic exercise guidelines had a 25% lower risk of development of MetS (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.63-0.89; P<.001) compared with meeting neither guideline.


Participating in resistance exercise, even less than 1 hour per week, was associated with a lower risk of development of MetS, independent of aerobic exercise. Health professionals should recommend that patients perform resistance exercise along with aerobic exercise to reduce MetS.

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