A mixture of weight training and aerobic exercise is better at controlling belly fat than just doing an equivalent amount of aerobic exercise, a new study finds.
The conclusions come from a very large study of 10,500 healthy U.S. men who were followed over 12 years (Mekary et al., 2014).
The study, published in the journal Obesity, looked at how changes in the type and amount of exercise were related to abdominal fat.
They found that doing an extra 20 minutes weight training a day was associated with a lower average increase in waistline of 0.67cm.
Whereas, those who spend the extra 20 minutes day on aerobic activity showed at least twice the gain in their waistline.
Naturally, men who spent the extra 20 minutes in front of the TV expanded the most.
Dr Rania Mekary, the study’s lead author, said:
“Because aging is associated with sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, relying on body weight alone is insufficient for the study of healthy aging.
Measuring waist circumference is a better indicator of healthy body composition among older adults.
Engaging in resistance training or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass.”
Professor Frank Hu, who led the study, said:
“This study underscores the importance of weight training in reducing abdominal obesity, especially among the elderly.
To maintain a healthy weight and waistline, it is critical to incorporate weight training with aerobic exercise.”
Image credit: Belly fat image by Shutterstock