Aerobic exercises can better heart health. These include jogging, swimming, running, dancing, walking, and bicycling. Aerobic activity promotes deep breathing and makes the heart work more to pump blood. It also ups heart rate which helps burn calories.
Strength training is also good for heart health. The American Heart Association and the CDC recommend resistance training twice a week on nonconsecutive days. But which of the two is better at burning heart fat? Weightlifting is as it can reduce two types of fat found in the heart, as per a new study.
What Did the Study Reveal?
A new report, published in the JAMA Cardiology journal, has found that resistance training can reduce heart fat. Fat collection in the heart can cause cardiovascular disease. The study uncovered that weight training reduced pericardial adipose tissue whereas aerobic exercise didn’t. However, both forms of exercise helped decrease epicardial adipose tissue.
Researchers were surprised to find this difference. The study couldn’t find the cause behind why resistance training reduced both fat types while endurance training didn’t. Researchers do have a possible explanation though.
Resistance training improves basal metabolism and increases muscle mass more than aerobic exercise. It also melts more calories during inactivity. This can be why resistance training is better at reducing more fat in the heart as well which is linked to cardiovascular disease.
How Was the Research Conducted?
For the research, scientists recruited 32 adults. While these participants were obese and had a sedentary lifestyle, they didn’t have heart disease or diabetes. Researchers assigned a three-month-program of aerobic exercise and weight training to the control group. Other than this, their physical activity was not changed. A heart MRI scan was conducted both at the beginning and the end of the study.
Compared to no physical activity at all, both exercises reduced epicardial adipose tissue mass. Endurance training decreased this fat type by 32%. Weight training reduced it by 24%. However, only weight training reduced the pericardial adipose tissue. It did so by 31%.
This resistance training “was designed as a 45-minute interval type, medium load, high-repetition, time-based training.” Training included 10 exercises in three to five sets. Researchers supervised the entire training.
What Did the Researchers Say?
Many studies have looked at the impact of exercise on reducing abdominal fat. This research looked at the link between fat around the heart and exercise. Researchers suggested that a combination of endurance and weight training can combat heart fat better.
However, more studies are required in this area to look at the long-term effects of such exercise. Researchers said, “We did not combine resistance and endurance training, which would have been interesting to reveal their potential additive effects.”
While resistance training can burn two different types of fat in the heart, aerobic exercises only effectively reduces one. However, researchers recommend you participate in both the exercise forms for better cardiovascular health.