Study Finds Aerobic Exercise Best for Weight Loss for People Short on Time

Posted on January 2, 2013

Researchers from North Carolina have found that aerobic exercise is better than resistance exercise for losing weight for those short on time. In the study, 234 previously sedentary overweight or obese males and females, age 18-70, were enrolled in one of three eight-month supervised protocols: aerobic training (AT), resistance training (RT), or a combination (AT/RT). 119 of the participants completed the study.

Participants in the aerobic training exercised for 45 minutes three days per week during the study period. Participants in the resistance training group also exercised three days a week. They completed three sets of 8-12 reps on eight resistance machines that targeted all major muscle groups.

The study found that people in the aerobic training groups lost more weight than people who did only resistance training. People in the aerobic training groups also had decreased fat mass and waist circumference. People who did resistance training only gained weight due to an increase in lean body mass.

Leslie H. Willis, an exercise physiologist at Duke University Medical Center and lead author of the study, said in a release, "Given our observations, it may be time to seriously reconsider the conventional wisdom that resistance training alone can lead to weight and fat loss. If increasing muscle mass and strength is a goal, then resistance training is required. However, the majority of Americans could experience health benefits due to weight and fat loss. The best option in that case, given limited time for exercise, is to focus on aerobic training. When you lose fat, it is likely you are losing visceral fat, which is known to be associated with cardiovascular and other health benefits."

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