As published in the Student Nutrition Association of Kaplan Newsletter, February 2015, Volume 4, Issue 2.
There has been a lot of talk in the past few years regarding the obesity epidemic and the health risks associated with being overweight. Researchers are becoming more concerned with not just excess weight in general, but weight carried specifically in the midsection. This "belly fat" they claim is particularly detrimental to health, causing an even greater risk of metabolic syndrome, a.k.a. high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol putting individuals at risk of developing heart disease, adult onset diabetes, or having a stroke.
By now most of us haven got the memo that it takes more than just doing cardio to effectively burn fat and manage one’s weight. A recent study performed at Harvard’s School of Public Health has further proven that fact. This Harvard study followed over 10,000 men for a twelve year period to assess a correlation between belly fat and their physical activity habits. What they have found is that the men who regularly participated in weight-bearing exercises had lesser gains in belly fat over time compared to the men who participated in either aerobic exercise only, activities of daily living, or were sedentary. The researchers concluded that “20 minutes of weight training per day was enough to significantly curb weight loss in the midriff” (Firger, 2014).
Well that provides us with substantial evidence for men, but what about women? Supposedly, the concept still applies. A similar study, performed at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, followed a group of women for two years who either participated in weight training or did not. They found that weight training twice a week was sufficient enough for women to prevent increases in belly fat (Carroll, 2014).
One thing all experts seem to agree on...for the greatest chance of losing weight and belly fat a combination of both aerobic activity and weight training is the best approach.
Carroll, L. (2014). To lose belly fat, do this for 20 minutes a day, Harvard study says. Retrieved from www.today.com/health/weight-training-better-aerobics-belly-fat-harvard-study-1D80385612
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