Belly fat is not a game. Belly fat (aka visceral fat) surrounds your vital organs, which research has found may increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
So what's the best way to lose it: cardio or pumping iron?
A recent study conducted at Duke University Medical Center suggests that jogging (or similar aerobic exercise) is more effective than lifting weights in getting rid of your beer belly. Time reported:
The researchers recruited 196 overweight and sedentary adults, aged 18 to 70, and randomly divided them into three groups: an aerobic-exercise group, who did the equivalent of jogging 12 miles per week at 80 percent heart rate; a resistance-training group, who performed three sets of 8 to 12 reps three times per week; and a combination group, who did both aerobics and strength training. All groups were closely monitored to make sure participants were putting in maximum effort.
At the end of the eight-month trial, the aerobics group had shed significant amounts of visceral fat and liver fat. They had also reduced their insulin resistance, liver enzymes and triglyceride levels — all risk factors for heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
The strength-training group saw none of these benefits. Combining aerobic exercise and resistance training yielded similar results to aerobic exercise alone. Further, the researchers found that aerobic exercise burned 67 percent more calories than resistance training.
But don't think that you have to work out to exhaustion like the people in the study. The study's lead author, Cris Slentz, assures that all you just have to move. "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."
Read more tips on how to lose belly fat here.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/GettyImages)