MetS and Exercise

Metabolic Syndrome and Exercise

  • The risk of developing both metabolic syndrome (MS) and diabetes is inversely associated with regular exercise training. Excess weight is also strongly associated with increased risk of both MS and diabetes.
  • There is strong evidence that even a moderate amount of weight loss achieved through changes in diet and exercise training can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. For the purpose of general health, exercise programs should have both aerobic and resistance training components.
  • The 2008 federal physical activity (PA) guidelines recommend obtaining at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity PA, 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity PA, or a combination of the 2. In addition, all individuals should strive for at least 2 days per week of resistance training activity.
  • For the purpose of weight loss, the combination of exercise training and reduced energy intake has been found to be more effective than either alone.1
  • The prevalence of the MS approaches 50% in postmenopausal women. Women who lose more weight (with low-intensity exercise)  are more likely to lower blood pressure, glucose, and triglyceride levels to resolve MS.2
  • Our results show that a non-pharmacological treatment based on exercise exerts an important beneficial effect in patients with MS, mainly on the waist circumference, blood pressure, and triglycerides.3
  • Increased activity and fitness attenuate risk of developing cardiovascular disease in persons who have diabetes or MS. Although controversial, relationships between physical activity/physical fitness and diabetes/MS are largely independent of body weight. Thus, physical inactivity and poor cardiorespiratory fitness are not only important determinants of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, but they can also be considered common features of these conditions, much like traditional risk factors such as obesity and insulin resistance.4


1. Church T. Exercise in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. May-Jun 2011;53(6):412-418.

2. Joseph LJ, Prigeon RL, Blumenthal JB, Ryan AS, Goldberg AP. Weight Loss and Low-Intensity Exercise for the Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome in Obese Postmenopausal Women. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. Jun 8 2011.

3. Mujica V, Urzua A, Leiva E, et al. Intervention with education and exercise reverses the metabolic syndrome in adults. J Am Soc Hypertens. May-Jun 2010;4(3):148-153.

4. Duncan GE. Exercise, fitness, and cardiovascular disease risk in type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Curr Diab Rep. Feb 2006;6(1):29-35.

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