Aerobic exercise is better than resistance training if you want to lose weight from around your waist, according to researchers of a new study published in theAmerican Journal of Physiology.
The study by a team at The Duke University Medical Center compared the effectiveness of aerobic exercise and resistance training, or a combination of the two activities in 196 overweight, sedentary adults aged 18 to 70.
The participants in the aerobic group did the equivalent of 19km of jogging per week at 80 per cent maximum heart rate, while those in the resistance group did three sets of eight to 12 repetitions three times per week.
The Duke University Medical Center researchers looked at how these types of exercise reduced the fat that’s deep within the abdomen and fills the spaces between internal organs. This type of fat – called visceral and liver fat – is associated with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.
The researchers found that aerobic exercise burned 67 per cent more calories than resistance training.
‘Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass’ lead author and exercise physiologist Cris Slentz said; ‘But if you are overweight, which two-thirds of the [US] population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories.’
While the training programs were rigorous and substantial, Slentz said their previous research led him to believe similar results could be achieved with a more moderate aerobic exercise program; ‘What really counts is how much exercise you do, how many miles you walk, and how many calories you burn. If you choose to work at a lower aerobic intensity, it will simply take longer to burn the same amount of unhealthy fat.’