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For Weight Loss, Moving Is Better Than Lifting

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There has been some debate over the best way to lose weight at the gym - some argue that you have to run the pounds off on a treadmill or elliptical trainer, while others say building muscle is the best way to burn fat. While both aerobic exercise and strength training are beneficial to people of all ages, a new study found that getting the heart pumping through aerobic activities like running, walking and swimming is the most effective way for overweight or obese adults to lose weight.

Cardio curbs fat
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, is the largest randomized trial that analyzes changes in the body's composition from three modes of exercise - aerobic, resistance or a combination of the two. The researchers concluded that while resistance training has plenty of health benefits, including improving glucose control, aerobic activity is critical for weight loss. In the study of 234 overweight or obese adults, the groups assigned to aerobic training or aerobic plus resistance training lost more weight than participants who were only assigned resistance training.

"Balancing time commitments against health benefits, our study suggests that aerobic exercise is the best option for reducing fat mass and body mass," said the study's co-author Dr. Cris A. Slentz, a Duke University exercise physiologist. "It's not that resistance training isn't good for you, it's just not very good at burning fat."

Fitness commitments for caregivers
Balancing time and exercise commitments might be something many caregivers are familiar with. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, caregivers of all ages are less likely than non-caregivers to practice preventative healthcare such as exercise. As a result of the stress and lack of time, caregivers also often fall into poor eating habits and statistically have higher levels of obesity, according to WomensHealth.gov.

For caregivers, finding the time to exercise is crucial, and can be a great form of stress relief. The Mayo Clinic recommends caregivers find respite care, whether from a friend or at a senior living community, so they can set personal health goals such as losing weight or walking each day. Aerobic exercise - even just a 20-minute walk each day - might be a good way to get started on some of these goals.

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