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Lift weights to lift the sagging belly, study

Posted:  Thursday, January 01, 2015

When it comes to the older population hitting the gym, the treadmill is their much preferred option. However, if you go by recommendations from Harvard School of Public Health researchers, then the weights section is where they need to be!

Typically aging is a process most commonly characterised by sarcopenia (muscle loss) which can be countered by lifting weights. When it comes to keeping the abdominal fat away even as you age, the researchers recommend aerobic workout in combination with weight training. They published the results of their study in the journal Obesity.

The researchers studied 10,500 healthy men in the US over the age of 40 who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study between 1996-2008. They assessed the physical activity, waist circumference and body weight of the men, and changes in their activity levels during the 12-year period. They also analysed the effect of these changes on their waistlines.

The study found that the men who increased the amount of time they spent lifting weights by 20 minutes a day had a smaller waistline gain during the time period (-0.67 cm), compared with those who increased their aerobic exercise by 20 minutes a day (-0.33 cm) or who increased yard work or stair climbing (-0.16 cm). Those practicing sedentary behaviours had increased weight gain around the abdomen.

Although aerobic exercise by itself was linked to less weight gain compared with weight training, the researchers suggest waist circumference as a better sign of health in older people. Additionally, combining weight training and aerobic activity yielded the best results. "Engaging in resistance training or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass," add the researchers.

In order to age gracefully with no extra baggage around the midriff, you may need to visit the weights section in your gym too.

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