Lifting weights can still help you drop extra pounds if aerobic exercise too hard

JOONDALUP, Australia — Aerobics are typically the gold standard exercise for weight loss, but researchers from Edith Cowan University find that hitting the weight room can help as well. Their study concludes that if you’re looking to lose weight but can’t perform aerobic exercise, lifting weights will still help you reach your slimmed-down goal.

More specifically, study authors recommend combining resistance training with a reduced caloric intake to help spark weight loss. All in all, the study strongly indicates that resistance training offers simultaneously significant effects on fat mass, muscle mass, and weight loss.

“Usually when we talk about obesity, body composition or weight loss, we only hear about aerobic exercise,” says lead researcher and PhD student Pedro Lopez in a university release. “This paper shows we can use resistance training and achieve meaningful effects with a diet based on caloric reduction. We can reduce body fat percentage, whole-body fat mass, body weight and BMI.”

“If you’re comparing the literature, these effects are similar to aerobic exercise with caloric restriction in adults who are overweight or obese,” Lopez continues.

Resistance training provides added bonuses

Aerobics are a great weight loss asset, but there’s more than one way to shed excess pounds. It’s important that people know they have weight loss options.

“This group may be uncomfortable by the prospect of 30 or 40 minutes on a treadmill or a bicycle,” Lopez adds. “They can injure knees, joints, ligaments and more because they have to carry their whole body weight during a lot of aerobic exercises.”

Study authors note that resistance training also offers a “two for one” fitness benefit, helping to burn fat and build or maintain muscle all at once. All aerobics all the time would eventually lead to muscle loss.

“The study also showed resistance training was effective in avoiding losing muscle mass when lowering the number of calories being consumed,” Lopez notes.

In conclusion, researchers stress that this work shouldn’t be seen as a direct comparison between aerobics and lifting weights. Either route, they point out, requires lowering one’s caloric intake to be successful.

“If you want to lose weight, you have to reduce your calorie intake,” Lopez concludes.

The findings appear in the journal Obesity Reviews.

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