Doing aerobic exercise ( like walking or cycling) as well as strength training (like lifting weights) is good for your overall health. However, many people feel they don’t have enough time during the week to do both. Is one type of exercise more important than the other?

Researchers placed 150 overweight, sedentary adults with elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, or low HDL (“good”) cholesterol into one of three groups.  The strength training group did three sets of eight weight-lifting exercises three days a week. The aerobic group used treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical trainers.  The third group did both aerobic and strength training.

After eight months, the aerobic and aerobic-strength groups had less liver fat, less abdominal fat, and less insulin resistance than the strength training group.  While strength training helps prevent muscle loss as we age, aerobic exercise is most likely to curb the insulin resistance that boosts the risk of diabetes and heart disease.  So, if you are overweight and only able to do one kind of exercise, go for the aerobic…. but check with your health care provider first…….Nutrition Action    June 2012

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