November 27, 2013

Obese Teen Girls Benefit More from Cardio

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fat-girlsA study published in American Journal of Physiology – Eccrinology and Metabolism finds that obese teenage girls benefit more from cardiovascular exercise than resistance training. Exercise is exercise, isn’t it? Apparently not if you’re an overweight teenage girl. 

In a 2 month study of obese, adolescent girls, researchers wanted to see if physical activity would have the same beneficial effects on girls as it did on a previous study of overweight boys. Girls were divided into two  groups that either performed either aerobic exercise or weight lifting.

Although the results after 3 months show beneficial effects for both types of exercise, the researchers found that girls who performed aerobic exercise, but not weight lifting, had significant reductions in visceral fat and liver fat, as well as improvements in insulin sensitivity, another risk factor for diabetes that’s linked with obesity.

The girls were divided into 3 groups. One group performed 60 minutes of aerobic exercise, 3 days a week. The other group performed  60 minutes of resistance exercise. The third group didn’t have a structured physical activity program over the course of the study.

Before the 3 months began, all participants were charter for their beginning measurements. By the end of the study,  both exercise groups had less total fat compared to the sedentary group. However, the two exercise groups differed significantly in other measures. Overall, those in the aerobic exercise group lost visceral and liver fat and improved their insulin sensitivity, but those in the other groups didn’t.

This study find that for teen girls, aerobic exercise might be superior to resistance exercise for health risks associated with obesity. Another fringe benefit is that girls in the aerobic exercise group seemed to enjoy their workouts more than those in the resistance exercise group. There’s something to be said for a runner’s high.

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