Why Adding Weight Training to Running is Best for Weight Loss

Given the choice between going running and doing strength training, most runners will pick the former. New research has found that those who run at least in part to keep their waistline trim will benefit most from a combination of running and weight training.

The study, published in Obesity, found that healthy men who did 20 minutes per day of weight training gained less abdominal fat over a 12-year period compared to those who spent the same amount of time doing moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. However, the aerobic activity was associated with less weight gain when compared to weight training. Those who did a combination of aerobic exercise and weight training saw the best results.

The researchers studied the physical activity, body weight, and waist circumference of 10,500 healthy men, age 40 and over, who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up study between 1996 and 2008.

The team of researchers pointed out that, because we often lose skeletal muscle mass as we age, body weight can be a misleading measurement of healthy body composition, which is why they examined waist circumference as well.

“This study underscores the importance of weight training in reducing abdominal obesity, especially among the elderly,” said one of the researchers, Frank Hu, in a press release. “To maintain a healthy weight and waistline, it is critical to incorporate weight training with aerobic exercise.”

Being overweight increases the risk of developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and carrying more weight around the midsection is thought to further raise the risk.


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