Weight Training More Effective Than Aerobics In Battling Belly Fat

The new year is fast approaching, and fitness resolutions are bound to bring countless people back to the gym next month. And because the usual goal is to get rid of the awful love handles accumulated during the holidays, people new at the gym tend to steer clear of the 15s and 20s and go straight for the high-speed treadmills, elliptical machines, and other aerobic exercises.

However, a recent study from Harvard University reveals that weight training might be the best way to get rid of belly fat after all. According to Today’s Health Section, weight lifting, combined with a constant routine of cardio and aerobics, might be the most ideal way to get rid of unwanted belly fat.

Researchers from Harvard tested the efficacy of weight lifting on burning belly fat by having a group of subjects do weight training exercises while another did aerobic exercises. Both groups performed the routine for 20 minutes a day. The researchers then tracked their progress over time and measured significant changes in the subject’s physiology.

The scientists found out that while the men who did aerobic exercises significantly reduced their overall weight, they were not as successful in getting rid of belly fat as those who performed weight training exercises.

The longitudinal study involved 10,500 healthy Americans, aged 40-year-old and above, in a scientific project called the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which was conducted from 1996 to 2008. Mekary and colleagues discovered that those who spent at least 20 minutes a day weight lifting had significantly less gain in waistline fat than those who focused more on aerobics like jogging and sprinting.

The scientists acknowledged results from those who did not perform any physical exercise at all and concluded that sedentary behaviors, such as playing video games all day, contributed to the biggest waist line of the groups.

Another expert says the result of the study, which was focused on men’s health, might be more or less similar with women’s fitness as well. Kathryn Schmitz of the University of Pennsylvania says the results of a study she did last year on women is very similar to the Harvard results on men.

“We did a two-year intervention study in premenopausal women who did only twice weekly weight training. We didn’t ask them to do any aerobic activity or to make any dietary changes. We found that twice weekly weight training substantively prevented increases in belly fat in women who got the intervention versus those who did not,” says Schmitz.

All in all, a combination of weight training and aerobic exercises might be the best way to get fit and right, especially after all the holiday feasts this month.

[Image from Erik Astrauskas/Flickr]