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A resistance training regimen in middle-aged women may significantly reduce abdominal subcutaneous, visceral, and total abdominal adipose tissue and fat ratio during the menopausal transition, according to a randomized controlled trial.

Adipose tissue redistribution in postmenopausal women increases the risk of cardiometabolic disease in this population. Resistance training can aid in treating vasomotor symptoms and reducing atherogenic blood lipids in postmenopausal women. 

A recent study aimed to investigate the role of a resistance training intervention in changing the volumes and ratios of abdominal adipose tissue in postmenopausal women experiencing vasomotor symptoms. The findings are published in the journal Maturitas.

Participant Characteristics

The intervention and control groups included 12 and 18 postmenopausal women, respectively. The mean ages of intervention and control group participants were 56 ± 6 and 55 ± 5 years, respectively. The median menopausal time in intervention group participants was 33 (22–158) months, and in control group participants it was 33 (13–66) months.

Improvement in Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks and Strength Tests

Postmenopausal women who underwent a 15-week resistance training intervention reported a significant increase in vigorous metabolic equivalent of task (VEMT) per week and all strength tests compared to the baseline, except for the chest press.

Improvement in Anthropometric and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Measurements

The intervention and control groups had no significant difference in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or anthropometric measurements at baseline. The intervention groups reported significant reductions in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (ASAT), fat ratio, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and total abdominal adipose tissue (TAAT) compared to the control group.

Association Between Gym Sessions and Changes in Fat Volumes and Ratios

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There was a significant correlation between weekly gym sessions and absolute changes in fat ratio, ASAT, and VAT volumes. VMET per week was significantly associated with absolute changes in the fat ratio, VAT ratio, and VAT volume. Absolute change in strength was not related to any volumes or ratios of adipose tissue in postmenopausal women.

Source:

Nilsson, S., Hammar, M., West, J., Borga, M., Thorell, S., & Holm, A. S. (2023). Resistance training decreased abdominal adiposity in postmenopausal women. Maturitas, 176, 107794. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2023.107794