Benefits of Aerobic Exercise vs. Resistance Training
Excess visceral fat, that which surrounds internal organs in the abdominal area, is linked to an increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. So getting rid of it is important to your overall health. Though it will take hard work to lose, it doesn’t require heavy lifting. Duke University researchers recently found that aerobic exercise is the principle way to lose visceral fat in overweight and obese individuals.
Weights Not a Factor
The study published in the August 25th issue of the American Journal of Physiology, studied almost 200 overweight subjects over an eight-month period. The 'aerobic exercise only' group saw significant reductions in liver fat, visceral fat, and both total and subcutaneous abdominal fat. "Statistically indistinguishable" results were found for the group that engaged in both aerobic exercise and resistance training, while subjects in the resistance training only group saw significant reduction in subcutaneous fat only.
Go for the Burn
Chris Slentz, PhD, lead author of the study said, "Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass. But if you are overweight, which two-thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories." Participants in the aerobic training group did the equivalent of 12 miles jogging at 75% peak oxygen consumption, which is a moderate-intensity level. But adding high intensity sometimes may also be good. A smaller study found that a mix of low and high intensity training is what takes off the visceral fat. Researchers at the University of Virginia tested the intensity of exercise on abdominal fat loss and found that low intensity training did not have a significant effect on abdominal fat loss, but mixing high intensity training three times a week with two days of low intensity training did.
Slow-Go Takes Longer
Despite the findings of both studies, all is not lost if you go for low-intensity exercise. Because the studies were time specific, they did not point out that doing aerobic exercise at a low-intensity may give similar results. Just give yourself more time to get to your goal. Slentz adds, "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."
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