belly fatIf you want to battle belly fat as you age….did I really just say that? Of course you want to battle belly fat as you age! Thankfully, there is new research from Harvard giving you the tools you need to battle the spare tire problem.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that combining aerobic activities with weight (resistance) training is key to preserving muscle and avoiding weight gain, particularly the dreaded age-related belly fat.

“Because aging is associated with sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass, relying on body weight alone is insufficient for the study of healthy aging,” study author and Harvard Researcher Rania Mekary said.

“Measuring waist circumference is a better indicator of healthy body composition among older adults,” Mekary explained. “Engaging in resistance training or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass.”

The long-term study was conducted between 1996 and 2008. It included more than 10,000 healthy men aged 40 or older whose body mass indexes (BMI) varied widely. BMI measures body fat by looking at weight and height.

The researchers analyzed the men’s physical activity, weight and waist circumference to determine which exercises had the most significant effect on the men’s waistlines, or the amount of belly fat they had.

The men who did 20 minutes of weight training daily had a smaller increase in belly fat than the men who spent the same amount of time engaging in moderate to vigorous aerobic activities, such as stair climbing and yard work.

Even the brainiacs at Harvard can recognize the importance of pumping a little iron as part of your exercise routine. So pick up the weights, take a walk, and watch your middle whittle.