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Pumping iron as important as running in fighting obesity

People who engage in physical activity in an effort to lose weight should concentrate on 'resistance training' to achieve better results, new research has suggested.

According to a study carried out by scientists at Boston University, exercise such as weight lifting could be as effective as 'endurance training' practices, such as running, when it comes to helping people overcome obesity.

The team found that, when they used a genetic trick into bulking up the type II muscles of a number of mice, they tended to not only grow stronger but also lose body fat and show other signs of metabolic improvements, such as less fatty livers.

Such improvements were observed even though the mice were kept on a diet high in both fat and sugars and didn't partake in any extra physical activity.

Commenting on the results, Professor Kenneth Walsh of Boston University School of Medicine, said: "These findings indicate that type II muscle has a previously unappreciated role in regulating whole-body metabolism through its ability to alter the metabolic properties of remote tissues.

"These data also suggest that strength training, in addition to the widely prescribed therapy of endurance training, may be of particular benefit to overweight individuals."

The professor added that the study also suggests that the loss of type II muscle contributes to the increased likelihood of obesity and diabetes as people get older. 

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