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Exercise Examination

Aerobics vs. weight training for cardiovascular risk factors

Aerobic exercise is most often recommended to offset cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, high blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. But can lifting weights also favorably modify those risk factors?

Scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University tested 14 overweight men, aged 27 to 48, who weight trained and eight men who did only aerobic exercise for six months. The aerobics consisted of treadmill exercise at an intensity of 70 to 80 percent of maximum oxygen intake. Weight training consisted of high-intensity training, using weights equal to 75 percent of maximum one-rep weight for all muscle groups. Both groups trained for 45 minutes, four times a week.

Results began to show at the three-month mark, when blood lipid values decreased in the endurance group. But the weight-training group showed an improvement in resting insulin levels. The results show that both aerobic exercise and weight training help reduce cardiovascular risk factors.

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