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Weight Training Key to Losing Body Fat, Study Shows

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Does your New Year’s resolution involve losing some body fat? Then it’s time to break out the weights. New research shows that men who performed 20 minutes of weight training each day kept the fat off better than men who engaged in aerobic activities.

The findings, which were recently published in the journal Obesity, did show that a combination of weight training and aerobic activity was best for reducing body fat. However, when men were told to engage in either one, the weight training group tended to lose fat or maintain body fat levels better than the group engaging in only aerobic activities.

“Engaging in resistance training or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass,” notes Dr. Rania Mekary, the study’s primary author.

Mekary’s team examined more than 10,500 men aged 40 and over, following participants over a twelve-year period. Specifically, they followed changes in each participant’s body mass index, a measure of body size based on the mass and height of an individual. Mekary’s team sought to figure out which activities had the most dramatic impact on a person’s BMI, with a special focus on waistlines.

“This study underscores the importance of weight training in reducing abdominal obesity, especially among the elderly,” noted Frank Hu, one of the study’s senior authors.

However, Hu insists that a balance of weight training and aerobic activities — like running or cycling — is the best approach. “To maintain a healthy weight and waistline, it is critical to incorporate weight training with aerobic exercise.”

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