Weight Loss Results Better With Aerobic Exercise
December 16, 2012

Study Suggests Aerobic Exercise Is The Best Way To Lose Weight

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

When it comes time to shed those unwanted holiday pounds, you might want to consider turning to aerobic exercise, as new research suggests that it is a more effective method of burning fat than resistance training.

In research published in Saturday's edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers from Duke University and East Carolina University describe a randomized trial in which they compared the effectiveness of three different methods of exercise (aerobic, resistance training, and a combination of the two).

A total of 234 overweight or obese adults, none of whom were diabetic, participated in the study, and each was randomly assigned to one of the three groups. One group exclusively participated in weight training, another exclusively participated in aerobic exercise, and a third performed both types of tasks.

The resistance training group lifted weights three days per week, completing three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each during their training days. The aerobic training group participated in approximately 12 miles worth of those types of exercises, which include walking, running, and swimming, per week.

The final group performed all of the exercises that each of the other two groups did -- three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each of weight training three days per week combined with roughly 12 miles worth of aerobic exercise.

"Data from 119 people who completed the study and had complete body composition data were analyzed to determine the effectiveness of each exercise regimen," officials from Duke University explained. "The groups assigned to aerobic training and aerobic plus resistance training lost more weight than those who did just resistance training. The resistance training group actually gained weight due to an increase in lean body mass."

"Aerobic exercise was also a more efficient method of exercise for losing body fat. The aerobic exercise group spent an average of 133 minutes a week training and lost weight, while the resistance training group spent approximately 180 minutes exercising a week without shedding pounds," they added. "The combination exercise group, while requiring double the time commitment, provided a mixed result."

While the combination group did help the participants lose both weight and fat mass, it did not result in a significantly greater result in either category when compared to the aerobics-only group. However, the researchers note that the third group did actually experience the largest decrease in waist circumference, which they say could be attributed to the fact that they spend the most total time exercising.

"Given that approximately two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight due to excess body fat, we want to offer clear, evidence-based exercise recommendations that will truly help people lose weight and body fat," lead author Dr. Leslie H. Willis, an exercise physiologist at the Duke University Medical Center, said.

"No one type of exercise will be best for every health benefit," she added. "However, it might be time to reconsider the conventional wisdom that resistance training alone can induce changes in body mass or fat mass due to an increase in metabolism, as our study found no change."