The Effect of Upper and Lower Body Interval Exercise on Fat Metabolism in Obese Women

Document Type : Research Paper


1 .Assistant Professor, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Core Research of health physiology and physical activity, Tehran, Iran

2 .Associate Professor, Department of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran

3 MSc of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


The aim of the present study was to compare the effect of upper and lower body interval exercise on fat metabolism in obese individuals. 12 obese women (body mass index 31.1±5.5 kg/m2, age 32.9±7.08 years) voluntarily participated in the study and performed a session of interval exercise on a cycle ergometer and another session on arm cranking ergometer with one-week interval, 2 min. of activity at 85% of VO2max and 4 min. of active recovery at 45% of VO2max for 30 min. Two blood samples were collected before and immediately after the exercise. To calculate fat oxidation, oxygen consumption and expired CO2 were measured. Glycerol concentration increased significantly (P<0.05) following the interval exercise although the no significant differences were observed between upper and lower body interval exercise (P>0.05). Non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) decreased following the upper body interval exercise, while, it increased following lower body interval exercise (P<0.05). Fat oxidation for total activities during lower body exercise was significantly (P<0.05) higher than upper body exercise, but, there was no significant difference in fat oxidation for sets and their total between the two sessions of exercise (P>0.05). Based on the findings of the present study, lipolysis increases following interval exercise in obese women and lower body interval exercise is more effective when burning fat than upper body interval exercise. Therefore, it is suggested that individuals should concentrate on lower body exercises to increase fat oxidation.

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