To Lose the Beer Gut, Try the Treadmill, Not the Dumbbells

on 01/09/11 at 10:34 pm

Booze News

Sweat it out on the treadmill or start pumping iron? A new study suggests that jogging (or similar aerobic exercise) is more effective than lifting weights for shedding fat lodged deep within the abdomen.

Unlike subcutaneous fat — the stuff that hangs over belt buckles and swings from the backs of your arms — abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, is packed within the body around the internal organs. Studies suggest that visceral fat is most damaging to your health — it has been associated with increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.

So the new study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center sought to determine the best way to lose it. The researchers recruited 196 overweight and sedentary adults, aged 18 to 70, and randomly divided them into three groups: an aerobic-exercise group, who did the equivalent of jogging 12 miles per week at 80% heart rate; a resistance-training group, who performed three sets of 8 to 12 reps three times per week; and a combination group, who did both aerobics and strength training. All groups were closely monitored to make sure participants were putting in maximum effort.

At the end of the eight-month trial, the aerobics group had shed significant amounts of visceral fat and liver fat. They had also reduced their insulin resistance, liver enzymes and triglyceride levels — all risk factors for heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

The strength-training group saw none of these benefits. Combining aerobic exercise and resistance training yielded similar results to aerobic exercise alone. Further, the researchers found that aerobic exercise burned 67% more calories than resistance training.



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