Lead author Cris Slentz, an exercise physiologist at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, and colleagues conducted a head-to-head comparison of aerobic exercise, resistance training and a combination of the two. They found aerobic exercise to be the most efficient and most effective way to lose belly fat.
"When it comes to increased health risks, where fat is deposited in the body is more important than how much fat you have," Slentz says in a statement.
"Our study sought to identify the most effective form of exercise to get rid of that unhealthy fat."
The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology, found aerobic training did a better job than resistance training of improving fasting insulin resistance and reducing liver enzymes and fasting triglyceride levels -- all are known risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. The study participants in the aerobic group performed exercises equivalent to 12 miles of jogging per week at 80 percent maximum heart rate.
The study also found resistance training achieved no significant reductions in abdominal fat, liver fat, liver enzyme levels or improvements in insulin resistance. However, the combination of aerobic with resistance training achieved results similar to aerobic training alone, the study said.