Optimum Wellness Presented by King Soopers

When it comes to blasting away fat, aerobic exercise is the way to go. Now, that may seem contrary to popular opinion. These days we hear all about weight and/or resistance training and the numerous boot-camp style workouts. And while truly almost any exercise is good for the body and soul, when it comes specifically to fat loss, cardiovascular exercise is the most effective. That doesn’t mean we don’t need BOTH!

Remember, LEAN MUSCLE helps burn fat as well. We build lean muscle through resistance work and strength – those exercises that trigger muscles to work against an external challenge with the expectancy of building lean muscle and increasing strength. This type of exercise will help build efficient metabolism and it is important for the health of our bones (osteoporosis prevention).

In 2012, a study performed by Duke University was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. This wasn’t a huge study by any stretch – by the end of the study, results were compiled from just 119 study participants. Still the results provide interesting information when it comes to the question of “which is better – aerobics or resistance training?” The study participants were assigned to one of three groups: aerobic training, aerobics plus resistance training or just resistance training. Those in the aerobic training and aerobic plus resistance training groups lost more weight compared to those who just participated in resistance training. The resistance training group actually gained weight (due to an increase in lean body mass – i.e. muscle mass). The aerobic exercisers averaged around 2 ¼ hours per week engaging in aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise.

How do you know which type of exercise is best for you? Always talk to your primary care provider if you are unsure where to start. Ask to have your percent body fat measured. If it is above 30% then fat loss is a great place to start – get that heart pumping with aerobic exercise! Weight bearing exercise is also important because it will help prevent osteoporosis (weak bones). Interval (quick bursts of higher-intensity activity followed by lower intensity activity) walking will cover both fitness goals (fat loss and bone health). Think hills, sprints, fast walking (for one minute) followed by a leisurely pace (for one to two minutes). Aim for at least 20 to 30 minutes each session or break it into twice daily 15 minute sessions. Take at least 5 minutes to cool down and stretch your muscles after each workout. And for a special treat, consider an Epsom salt bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil following your workout.