Bye-bye belly

It is a terrible moment when your favourite pair of jeans does not do up anymore. The winter hibernation has added a crucial few centimetres to your girth and it shows. The real issue however with belly fat is not just cosmetic, as belly fat is bad for your health. Now however, a new study has shown the type of exercise that you need to do in order to shift that weight.

Belly fat is also known as visceral fat and it sits inside the abdominal cavity packed around your organs like the stomach, liver, and intestines. It is metabolically different to other types of fat that sit under your skin or in your muscles. Visceral fat can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. So reducing belly fat is very important.

To establish the type of exercise that will shift belly fat, researchers decided to compare aerobic exercise to resistance exercise. Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that raises the heartbeat and makes the lungs and heart work harder to meet the body’s increased demand for oxygen. Aerobic activities include running, swimming, cycling, and rowing. Resistance exercise is activity that uses the force of muscle against some kind of resistance to build muscle strength. Types of resistance training include weight training, push ups, and chin ups.

The researchers divided overweight, sedentary volunteers aged between eighteen and 70 years into three groups. One group was the aerobic group doing around 20km jogging at 80 per cent maximum heart rate each week. The resistance training group did three sets of eight to twelve repetitions of lifting weights three times per week. The third group did both.

The results showed that aerobic training burned 67 per cent more kilojoules than resistance training and reduced visceral fat much more than resistance training. Aerobic training was also more effective at reducing liver enzymes and fasting triglycerides (blood fats) as well as improving insulin resistance. Combining resistance training with aerobic training was found to have similar results to just doing aerobic training on all of these parameters.

It seems if you want to say “ta-ta tummy” you need to drop those weights and start pounding the pavement.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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