Aerobic exercise benefits patients with metabolic syndrome

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  • Aerobic exercise is associated with significant improvement in body composition, cardiovascular outcomes and metabolic outcomes in patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
  • Although narrower in scope, combination of aerobic and resistance exercise is also beneficial.

Why this matters

  • >20% of world population is at risk to develop MetS, and thus is at high risk to develop cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
  • Although evidence suggests beneficial effects of lifestyle intervention on metabolic profile in patients with type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary, relative effect of exercise alone needs to be evaluated.

Key results

  • Aerobic exercise significantly reduced BMI (mean difference [MD], −0.29 kg m−2; P<.0001), body mass (MD, −1.16 kg; P=.0008), waist circumference (MD, −1.37 cm; P<.0001) and total body fat mass (MD, −1.19 kg; P=.0001) vs control.
  • Significant reduction observed for systolic (MD, −2.54 mmHg; P=.006) and diastolic (MD, −2.27 mmHg; P=.0002) BP, fasting blood glucose (MD, −0.16 mmol/L; P=.04), triglycerides (MD, −0.21 mmol/L; P<.00001) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (MD, −0.03 mmol/L; P=.02).
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (MD, 0.14 mmol/L; P=.009), waist circumference (P<.0001) and systolic BP (P=.002) improved with aerobic/resistance exercise combination.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis evaluated 16 randomised controlled trials comparing aerobic or aerobic/resistance combination exercise with sedentary control.
  • Funding: None.


  • Small study population which limits generalisability.