New York: Exercise combined with a sensible diet will shift fat cells faster than diet alone.
A trial was carried out on two groups of obese women in which one was given a regime of calorie cutting and the other diet plus exercise. The women who exercised had a reduction in fat cells around the abdomen whilst the other group did not. This loss is important as abdomen obesity is linked to heart disease and diabetes.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Obesity, suggest that exercise provokes the body to choose to breakdown of fat cells in the abdomen, first. It also means that exercise is important to a person’s distribution of body fat.
The research was carried out at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and included 45 obese middle-aged women who were randomly assigned to one of three groups: one that cut calorie intake alone; one that cut calories and walked at a moderate pace three days per week; and a third that dieted and walked at a more intense pace three days a week.
After 20 weeks, all three groups showed improvements in their weight and body fat percentage. But when the researchers took samples of body fat from just below the skin’s surface, the differences between exercisers and non-exercisers emerged.
Women in both exercise groups showed about an 18 percent reduction in the size of abdominal fat cells, whereas dieters showed no change.
Losing abdominal fat is more than a matter of fitting into a smaller dress. Research shows that people who are “apple-shaped” are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease than “pear-shaped” individuals, who carry much of their fat below the waist.
So people who include exercise in their weight-loss plan may lower their risk of such diseases to a greater degree, You said. What’s more, he noted, even if people fail to lose a significant amount of weight with regular exercise, the changes in abdominal fat cells might still benefit their health.