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To Your Health Newsletter

October, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 21)
Why Cardiovascular Exercise Isn't the Only Way to Burn Fat

By Editorial Staff

Think sweating up a storm with high-intensity cardio / aerobic exercise is the only way to burn fat? Think again. If you're slaving away on the treadmill or elliptical for hours every week, but ignoring the free weights, weight machines and other strength-building tools (exercise bands, body-weight exercises, etc.), you're doing your body (and fat-loss efforts) a disservice. That's because strength training appears to do the job, too – and it does it equally as effectively, according to a new research analysis.

In a review of previous studies, researchers analyzed findings from 58 strength-training studies involving 3,000 participants, none of whom had any prior weight-training experience. Each of the studies utilized a "highly accurate" from of body fat measurement, such as a body scan, in determining how strength training influenced body fat.

Exercise programs consisted of two to three 60 -minute sessions per week for approximately five months, on average. During the training period, study participants lost an average of 1.4 percent of their body fat. What's more, this percentage was similar to that generally achieved via aerobic / cardio programs. Findings appear in Sports Medicine.

The takeaway: Strength training isn't just for building lean body mass (muscle); it's also great for burning fat! That's one of many reasons why an effective, long-term weight-loss, fitness-optimizing, health-promoting exercise program should include aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching and more. Talk to your doctor for more information.