Effects of resistance training on MRI-derived epicardial fat volume and arterial stiffness in women with obesity: a randomized pilot study
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To date, few studies have analyzed the effects of exercise on cardiac adipose tissue. Overall, exercise programs did not meet the recommendations for significant weight loss, the utilization of resistance training was minimal, and the conclusions derived from these studies have diminished exercise as a strategy for cardiac fat loss.
The objective of this pilot study was to analyze the effects of 3-week high-intensity, moderate-volume muscular endurance resistance training (RT) on cardiac fat and arterial stiffness.
A total of 11 young females with obesity, BMI = 34.13 (± 3.16) kg/m2 (n = 5 control, n = 6 intervention) completed the study. Absolute strength was assessed using one repetition maximum test (1RM) for bench press (BP) and leg press (LP), and relative strength was calculated using body weight (BW) as BP-to-BW and LP-to-BW ratio. Magnetic resonance was used to quantify epicardial and paracardial adipose tissue (EAT and PAT) volume, and applanation tonometry was used to assess arterial stiffness by estimating pulse wave velocity (PWV).
EAT and PAT volumes (ml) showed significant interaction effects (p = 0.037 and p = 0.031), and very large changes (d > 1) of EAT (p = 0.006) and PAT (p = 0.036) in the intervention group. In addition, strength was significantly improved, including BP (p = 0.003), LP (p = 0.001), BP-to-BW ratio (p = 0.001), and LP-to-BW ratio (p = 0.002), while no changes were found in PWV.
High-intensity, moderate-volume RT, designed to enhance muscular endurance following the recommendations reduces EAT and PAT volumes, improves physical fitness in females with obesity, and has no negative effects on arterial stiffness.
KeywordsEpicardial fat Paracardial fat Arterial stiffness High-intensity Moderate-volume Resistance training
Aortic diastolic blood pressure
Analysis of variance
Aortic systolic blood pressure
Absolute oxygen consumption
Body mass index
Bench press to body weight
Epicardial adipose tissue
Fat free mass
- HR max
Maximal heart rate
Lean body mass
Leg press to body weight
Magnetic resonance imaging
OMNI-Resistance Exercise Scale
Paracardial adipose tissue
Pulse wave velocity
Relative oxygen consumption
1 repetition maximum
Percentage of body fat
This study was partially funded by the Office of the Vicepresident for Research Seed Funds Program Texas Tech University. This project registered at http://www.clinicaltrial.gov (NCT02589327). The authors have no conflict of interest to disclose. The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation.
Study concept and design: MF, EL. Acquisition of data: MF, JG, SK, JK, SM. Analysis and interpretation of data: MF, EL, JG. Drafting of the manuscript: MF, SK. Critical revision: MF, EL, JG, JK, SM. Statistical Analysis: MF, EL. Technical and material support: SK, JG, JK. Study supervision: MF, SK, SM. All the authors read and approved the manuscript.
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