Aerobic exercise is the key to losing belly fat and limiting type 2 diabetes risk

Excess fat around the midsection is a well recognized risk factor for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest places for individuals to eliminate fat from.

Many people do endless crunches and other types of exercise with little to show. Failing to lose abdominal fat may leave a person at a dangerously elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

However, performing the right types of exercises may help individuals lose this fat and limit their risk of disease. For example, a team of researchers from Duke University recently showed that it is possible to reduce one's abdominal fat through aerobic exercise.

The team compared the efficacy of aerobic activity to resistance training, the category of exercise sit-ups and crunches would fall under. Their study showed that individuals who participated in programs that involved regular aerobic exercise lost more visceral fat than those who engaged in resistance activities.

Additionally, the results showed that these individuals experienced improvements in cholesterol levels and reductions in liver fat, both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

"Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass," said Cris Slentz, PhD, the lead author on the study. "But if you are overweight, which two thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories."

While it is always difficult to lose a significant amount of weight, the findings suggest that doing the right kind of exercise may help more overweight people limit their risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.