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Using weights to target belly fat

Stashed in: #health, Fitspo, Harvard, Stronger!, Aging, Belly Fat

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Strength training is the best way to control abdominal fat, especially as you get older.

Aerobics fights pounds, but weight training trims the waist.

Healthy men who did 20 minutes of daily weight training had less increase in age-related abdominal fat than men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities, according to a new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health(HSPH) researchers and colleagues. Combining weight training and aerobic activity led to the most optimal results. Aerobic exercise by itself was associated with less weight gain compared with weight training.

The study appears online today in Obesity.

“Because aging is associated with sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, relying on body weight alone is insufficient for the study of healthy aging,” said lead author Rania Mekary, a researcher in HSPH’s Department of Nutrition. “Measuring waist circumference is a better indicator of healthy body composition among older adults. Engaging in resistance training or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise, could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass.”

Prior studies had been focused on a specific population (e.g., overweight people or type 2 diabetics), were of short duration, and had mixed results. The new study was long-term with a large sample of healthy men with a wide range of body mass indexes (BMI).

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