health

Weightlifting better at reducing heart fat than aerobic exercise

25 Comments

Obese people who engaged in resistance training were more likely to see reductions in a type of heart fat that has been linked to cardiovascular disease, a new study finds.

In the small study, researchers determined that a certain type of heart fat, pericardial adipose tissue, was reduced in patients who did weight lifting, but not in those who worked on increasing their endurance with aerobic exercise, according to a report published in JAMA Cardiology. Both forms of exercise resulted in the reduction of a second type of heart fat, epicardial adipose tissue, which has also been linked with heart disease.

“We were surprised by this finding,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Regitse Hojgaard Christensen, a researcher at the Center of Inflammation and Metabolism and the Center for Physical Activity Research at the Copenhagen University Hospital.

While the study doesn’t explain why weight training would have a different effect from endurance training, “we know from other studies that resistance training is a stronger stimulus for increased muscle mass and increased basal metabolism compared to endurance training and we therefore speculate that participants doing resistance training burn more calories during the day - also in inactive periods-compared to those engaged in endurance training,” Christensen said in an email.

To explore the impact of different types of exercise on heart fat, Christensen and her colleagues recruited 32 adults who were obese and sedentary but did not yet have heart disease, diabetes, or atrial fibrillation.

The participants were randomly assigned to a three-month program of aerobic exercise, weight training or no change in activity (the control group). Each person had an MRI scan of the heart done at the beginning of the study and at the end.

Both types of exercise training reduced epicardial adipose tissue mass compared to no exercise: endurance training, by 32% and weight training, by 24%. However, only weight training had an impact on pericardial adipose tissue, which was reduced by 31% compared to no exercise.

“The resistance exercise training in this study was designed as a 45-minute interval type, medium load, high-repetition, time-based training,” Christensen said. “Participants performed three to five sets of 10 exercises and the sessions were supervised. This specific exercise intervention alone was effective in reducing both fat depots of the heart. We did not combine resistance and endurance training, which would have been interesting to reveal their potential additive effects.”

While there are plenty of studies looking at the impact of reducing abdominal obesity, the new study is interesting because it looks specifically at the relation between exercise and fat (around the heart),” said Dr Chadi Alraeis, a staff interventional cardiologist and director of Interventional Cardiology at Detroit Medical Center’s Heart Hospital.

Alraeis suspects, based on the new study, that the best way to combat heart fat is to do both endurance and weight training. “Along with the time you spend on the treadmill, you might want to add some work with dumbbells, or some lunges, sit-ups or pushups,” Alraeis said. “It might even be enough to bring some weights to the office so you can use them there. “

While the findings are interesting, “we don’t know what the implication of this is 10 years later,” Alraeis said. “We don’t know if outcomes are really being changed. We need some long-term studies to look at that.”

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
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This is good to know. i've got 2 dumbbells and a bench at home, which are used twice a week. At 10,000 yen from Amazon, my micro gym is the best investment I've ever made.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The last few decades of science have shown that building muscle is better exercise for weight reduction than cardio. Cardio is good as an addition, but is less effective by itself for weight loss. This is true for both men and women.

Now that all said, the most important thing for weight loss is diet. I say this as someone who has been doing body building for 25+ years. If you really want to lose weight, you should shift to a low carb, high protein diet (which will keep you feeling fuller longer, from less calories), and ensure you are have a calorie deficit each day. Losing weight is 3/4 diet, 1/4 activity. Both are important, but diet is more important.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In general this is good to hear, but disheartening for me personally. Most of my young life I competed in elite gymnastics until I had a bad injury in my late teens where I essentially blew out 2 vertebrae and had to have my knee reconstructed. When I was pregnant with my daughter I developed Hashimoto's disease and it's wreaked absolute havoc on my body. I have a healthy diet and do around 5 hours of cardio a week just to keep myself somewhat healthy but I have more weight to lose before I would be comfortable in my own body again. I would love to weight train, I miss it so much... being strong and healthy. My doctors are always iffy about weight training or high impact training although it seems that it would have the most effect. There are few things as satisfying for me (personally) than a rough, powerful workout but I guess that's out of reach for me anymore. :/

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good news, I hit the gym 2-3 times per week and pump.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My doctors are always iffy about weight training or high impact training although it seems that it would have the most effect.

For someone like you, yoga would probably be beneficial. But with your history, you'd want to work with a professional physiotherapist to make sure that you don't injure yourself. I know a lot of former athletes who have turned to yoga both as a means of keeping a healthy body, while dealing and getting past old injuries.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I guess the authors of this study have never studied weightlifting at gyms in Japan where the phrase "break a sweat" is a totally unknown thing...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I guess the authors of this study have never studied weightlifting at gyms in Japan where the phrase "break a sweat" is a totally unknown thing...

You must be going to different gyms than me.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As Strangeland said, it is well established that diet is the most important. And for that point of view, we are lucky to live in Japan, and myself personally I am fortunate to have a great cafeteria at work. Those beers every evening are not helping though...

From my personal experience, the best activity is the one you enjoy doing. If you just do running, or yoga, or bodybuilding, etc. just because it is the most "efficient" or fashionable or whatever, it won't last too long. It is difficult to stay motivated if you don't really love what you are doing. I did muscle training for a long time because I had a good gym at work (and I enjoyed it), but I am in my best shape since restarting the sport I love, tennis. Cardio, always hated it

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Losing weight is 3/4 diet, 1/4 activity. Both are important, but diet is more important.

You need to add adequate sleep into your equation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As Strangeland said

StrangeRland

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You need to add adequate sleep into your equation.

It's true. You're only going to be fighting your own body if you don't get enough.

But conversely, if you are doing enough exercise, sleep usually isn't a problem.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Vernon Watts, you are so right! Most of the people at my gym use one machine for one set, go from doing shoulders to doing legs to doing back in, like, 5 minutes and are generally there to take up space because they don't know what else to do with their (parents') money.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Interesting study, I'll have to look up "pericardial adipose tissue".

Cardio for me, in the great outdoors. Mostly very hilly cycling.

After many years in Japan, my body now associates beer with food. Instead of "eating's cheating", I now get mega cravings whenever I have a drink, mostly for super unhealthy food. It's my biggest source of empty calories.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strangeland, you should make your own gym at home! You don't have to worry about the crowds or if and how badly people sweat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strangeland

StrangeRland

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Strangeland, you should make your own gym at home! You don't have to worry about the crowds or if and how badly people sweat.

Sweat has been part of so much of my life that it doesn't bother me.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Interesting article! Personally I am not into weight training so much. I have always enjoyed running and amateur boxing. Keeps me in relatively good shape. I do do some weights but this is not my main focus. But as someone above says, it's a matter of what you enjoy and what keeps you motivated.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Or you could just eat a whole food plant based diet and avoid both. Japanese medical science also showed that adding ACV to your diet will reduce fat around the organs

Certainly good to know in a comparison but diet is easier for more people

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The best exercise is the push away. The push away from the fridge!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@savethegaijin, sorry to hear of your injuries. I have weightlifted since high school and now started moving towards bodyweight calisthenics including muscle ups. Take a look at the book Convict Conditioning which progresses from a very low level such as knee pushups up to one arm pushups. None of the exercises load your back with weights. I think you would find it extremely satisfying and effective as I do. Unfortunately most doctors do not lift weights and hesitate to recommend it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland, Thank you for sharing your weight training experiences and thoughts. I also enjoy hoisting the iron and keeping in shape. Japan is full of fabulous food to go with it. So easy to have a great life here. Love having shapely shoulders and legs etc. and hiking up those trains stairs: no problemo! Other comments have also very enjoyable observations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other comments have also very enjoyable observations.

Why do hamburgers go to the gym? To get better buns.

Why can't skeletons lift weights? Because they are all bone and no muscle.

What do hairdressers do at the gym? Curls. 

Sweat has been part of so much of my life that it doesn't bother me.

Jeez, Strangeland, hope showers are part of your life too! Tee hee!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

With this very simple method, you will be in good shape that your mind and body will feel.

30-40 mins jogging/running adding 5 mins light stretching, 5 days a week

1 glass of clear water 30 mins before Breakfast

Breakfast - Bran flakes or Wholemeal Roti with water (No dairy products)

1 hour later - 1 glass of water

1 hour later - again water

Lunch - Vegetables, even meat and fish

1 hour later - Fruits

1 hour later - again water

Snacks - wholemeal bars

1 hour later - water

1 hour later - water and salad

1 hour later or before dinner - water

Dinner - wholemeal roti with veggie or meat curry

1 hour later - Green Tea

Note: twice a week, burger or steak or any food u want to try is ok but by following the above every day.

(So much time for writing these, night shift, can't believe)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@BackpackingNepal: I like your proposal but can I replace "water" with "beer"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Absolutely great post here. Aside from increasing your physical work capacity, it also enhances your ability to perform activities of daily living. In addition to this, having a home gym workout machine would be a great help.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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