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Study: Shapewear Garment Burns Calories

Wearing Garment During Light Workout Burns Extra Calories
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

ShaToBu shapewearJune 3, 2010 -- Women who wear a tight girdle-like “shaper garment” while walking on a treadmill  burn more calories than they would without it, new research shows.

The shaper garment, called ShaToBu, is designed to make muscles work harder when walking, University of Virginia researchers say.

Fifteen women, average age 39,  took part in two 15-minute treadmill walking tests.  In one test the women wore the shaper garment; in the other they wore their usual undergarments. There was a 15-minute rest period between the two tests. During testing the treadmill speed remained constant at 3 mph and the treadmill incline was varied every five minutes (0%, 5%, 10%).

According to the study:

  • Women burned between 3% and 16% more calories walking on a treadmill while wearing the ShaToBu.
  • The most significant calorie-burning benefit came when the women wearing the garment were walking at a 10% incline.

“We tested this shapewear garment under controlled scientific conditions and showed that when women wore ShaToBu, the energy expenditure increased significantly during walking, which translates to more calories burned,” says Arthur Weltman, PhD, director of the graduate exercise physiology program at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education.

The ShaToBu, which is not intended for use during vigorous exercise, contains seamless resistance bands designed to make muscles work a bit harder during natural movements, like climbing stairs or walking. This extra exertion burns more calories.

The research was supported in part by a grant from Mayfair Tech Inc., an affiliate of Doris Hosiery Mills, Ltd., in Canada. Mayfair Tech makes ShaToBu.

A public relations firm in Canada calls the ShaToBu the “workout you can wear”  and says it can help women work increased calorie-burning efforts into their normal activities.

The research was presented during the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Baltimore ending June 5.


This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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