Weight Training Reduces Belly Fat Better Than Aerobic Exercise in Those Over 40

A study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, just  published in the online edition of  the scientific  journal Obesity,  reports  that  men who did twenty minutes of weight training per day had less age-related abdominal fat in comparison with men spent the same amount of time doing aerobic exercise.

Commenting on the study’s methods and what was measured, researcher Rania Mekary of the Harvard school’s Department of Nutrition says, “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. 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.”

The study subjects were 10,500 healthy men over the age of 40 who participated in the Health Professional Follow-up Study from 1996 and 2008.  What the study measured was waist circumference, body weight and the type and duration of the exercise of the participants.

The study’s analysis attempted to elucidate which physical activity had the most effect on belly fat using the simple measurement of the waistline. The study subjects who spent time with weight training , 20 minutes per day, had less of an increase in their waistline, compared with men who did the same amount of time doing aerobic activities. Men who had become more sedentary over the study years had a significantly larger increase in their waistline.

The study’s senior  author Frank Hu, professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology stated, “This study underscores the importance of weight training in reducing abdominal obesity… To maintain a healthy weight and waistline, it is critical to incorporate weight training with aerobic exercise.”


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For the best care in Integrative Medicine call Henry C. Sobo, M.D., at 203-348-8805 or write us at [email protected]

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