Charlyn Fargo, Contributor
Want to burn more fat? Get out those walking shoes. Aerobic training - walking, running, swimming, exercise classes - is the best mode of exercise for burning fat, according to Duke researchers who compared aerobic training, resistance training and a combination of the two.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, is the largest randomised trial to analyse changes in body composition from the three modes of exercise in overweight or obese adults without diabetes.
Aerobic exercise has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight. However, recent guidelines have suggested that resistance training, which includes weightlifting to build and maintain muscle mass, may also help with weight loss by increasing a person's resting metabolic rate. Research has demonstrated health benefits for resistance training, such as improving glucose control, but studies on the effects of resistance training on fat mass have been inconclusive.
However, if increasing muscle mass and strength is a goal, resistance training is required. However, the majority of Americans could experience health benefits because of weight and fat loss. The best option in that case, given limited time for exercise, is to focus on aerobic training. When you lose fat, it is likely you are losing visceral fat, which is known to be associated with cardiovascular and other health benefits.
Researchers enrolled 234 overweight or obese adults in the study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three exercise training groups: resistance training (three days per week of weight lifting, three sets per day, eight to 12 repetitions per set), aerobic training (approximately 12 miles per week), or aerobic plus resistance training (three days a week, three set per day, eight to 12 repetitions per set for resistance training, plus approximately 12 miles per week of aerobic exercise).
The exercise sessions were supervised in order to accurately measure adherence among participants. Data from 119 people who completed the study and had complete body composition data were analysed to determine the effectiveness of each exercise regimen.
The groups assigned to aerobic training and aerobic plus resistance training lost more weight than those who did just resistance training. The resistance training group actually gained weight because of an increase in lean body mass. Aerobic exercise was also a more efficient method of exercise for losing body fat.
The aerobic exercise group spent an average of 133 minutes per week training and lost weight, while the resistance-training group spent approximately 180 minutes exercising per week without shedding pounds.
The combination exercise group, while requiring double the time commitment, provided a mixed result. The regimen helped participants lose weight and fat mass, but did not significantly reduce body mass or fat mass over aerobic training alone. This group did notice the largest decrease in waist circumference, which may be attributed to the amount of time participants spent exercising.
Researchers concluded that no one type of exercise is best for every health benefit. But all exercise is beneficial. However, if you're trying to lose weight, step up the aerobics.
- Information courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.
Yoga health benefits
Q: Are there really health benefits to doing yoga?
A: Yes, but health benefits vary because people practise yoga in different ways. For example, people differ in how they emphasise and practise the physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), meditation and relaxation techniques and more.
It's difficult to conduct a controlled study of the effects of long-term yoga practice, but short-term studies have identified several health benefits. In one study, within a couple weeks of daily or near-daily yoga, high blood pressure improved. A 2007 review of the evidence found that within several weeks to several months, people with diabetes showed improved bloodsugar control and blood-cholesterol levels.
These effects may relate to increased physical activity, reduced anxiety and changes in stress hormones from meditation practice or their interactive effects. Although yoga has been around for centuries, research is only beginning to understand all its effects. If you are looking for health benefits from yoga, it would be wise to learn from an instructor who includes both physical poses and meditative components. Find a style that is safe for you and fits your goals and physical abilities so you can continue doing yoga long term.
- Information courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD
Simply adding a serving of salad to your meal can help you eat 11 per cent fewer calories, according to a 2012 Appetite study. Stick with voluminous, low-calorie fixings like fresh veggies and leafy greens and limit add-ons like nuts, seeds and cheese. Try this Buffalo Chicken Salad from Eating Well Magazine.
0.5 cup crumbled reduced-fat blue cheese plus 1/4 cup, divided
6 tablespoons buttermilk
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar, divided
0.25 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot sauce
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 large carrots, chopped
3 large stalks celery, chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
Combine half-cup blue cheese in a small bowl with buttermilk, two teaspoons vinegar and one-eight teaspoon pepper; mix well, mashing slightly with a fork. Set aside. Place chicken in another bowl; sprinkle with flour and the remaining one-eighth teaspoon pepper and toss until coated.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until just cooked through, six to seven minutes. Stir in hot sauce and the remaining two teaspoons vinegar and cook, stirring often, until the chicken is coated, about 1 minute. Combine lettuce, carrots, celery and cucumber in a large bowl; add the reserved dressing and toss to coat. Divide the salad among four plates and top each with an equal portion of chicken and one tablespoon each of the reserved blue cheese. Serves four (2 .5 cups salad and 3 ounces chicken each).
Per serving: 291 calories, 32g protein, 15g carbohydrate, 11g fat, 75mg cholesterol, 5g fibre, 607mg sodium.
Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian from Springfield, Ill. For comments or questions, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at #NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.