The fat stored in your stomach is called visceral fat, also described as the fat beneath your muscles. Compared to subcutaneous fat (e.g., the flab on your arms), it is more dangerous to your health because it turns into blood cholesterol and therefore increases your risk of getting heart disease.
To determine the best way to lose this type of fat, the researchers at the Duke University Medical Center divided 196 overweight and sedentary adults into three groups. The aerobic exercise group jogged 12 miles a week. Those who got resistance training did three sets of repetitions three times a week. The last group used a combination of both.
After eight months, the results showed that those who did aerobic exercise lost the most visceral and liver fat. Their resistance to insulin and the state of their liver enzymes also improved. Meanwhile, the resistance-training group reported no such benefits, and the combination group experienced the same effects as just doing aerobic exercise would have gained them. Aerobic exercise also proved to be the better calorie burner as it burned 67 percent more calories than resistance training.
If your focus is reducing your stomach fat, therefore, it's best to skip lifting dumbbells and stick to aerobic exercises like jogging, walking, and biking. The great news is that you don't have to exercise as rigorously as the people did in the research. The study's lead author, exercise physiologist Cris Slentz, notes on Dukehealth.org, "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."
Need tips to help you with aerobic exercise? Try these articles:
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- 9 Tips on Getting Back into Running after a Break
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If you're in need of tips to help you get into the habit of working out, check these out on FN:
- How to Stop Making Excuses to Avoid Exercising
- 5 Ways to Keep Fit When You Don't Have Time
- Even Ten Minutes Count
(Photo by bass_nroll via Flickr Creative Commons)
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