Aerobic exercises are the best for burning fat and losing weight, according to a US study.
The study, conducted by the Duke University Medical Centre, is the largest randomised trial to analyse changes in body composition from aerobic exercise, weight training and a combo of the two, in obese adults without diabetes.
Aerobic exercise, which includes walking, running, and swimming, has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight, the Journal of Applied Physiology reports.
It also helped with weight loss by increasing a person's resting metabolic rate, according to a Duke statement.
"Given that approximately two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight due to excess body fat, we want to offer clear, evidence-based exercise recommendations that will truly help people lose weight and body fat," said Leslie H. Willis, exercise physiologist, who led the study.
Researchers enrolled 234 overweight or obese adults in the study. They were randomly assigned to one of three exercise training groups: resistance training (weight lifting), aerobic training (12 miles per week), or aerobic plus resistance training (three days a week, plus approximately 12 miles per week of aerobic exercise).
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 due to 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 a week training and lost weight, while the resistance training group spent approximately 180 minutes exercising a week without shedding pounds.
The combination exercise group, while requiring double the time commitment, provided a mixed result. This group did notice the largest decrease in waist circumference, which may be attributed to the amount of time participants spent exercising.
"Balancing time commitments against health benefits, our study suggests that aerobic exercise is the best option for reducing fat mass and body mass," said Cris A. Slentz, Duke exercise physiologist and study co-author.
"Its not that resistance training isn't good for you; it's just not very good at burning fat," Slentz said.