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You’ve probably already heard that in addition to watching your overall body fat in order to stay healthy, you need to be aware of how much visceral or deep belly fat you have.
That’s because it’s the kind of fat that can compromise your organ function.
But, did you know that there’s one more type of fat in your body that you need to know about? A type of fat that could have an even bigger impact on your health and your lifespan?
It’s the fat around your heart. And if you have too much of it, you could be setting yourself up for a host of complications or even early death.
So, let’s dig into some heart fat facts as well as the results of a new study that recommends the best way to combat a fatty heart…
2 types of heart fat and the danger they pose
First, you should know that there are two different types of heart fat and each carries with it its own dangers.
The first type is called epicardial adipose tissue. It has been found to increase your risk for heart disease as well as sudden cardiovascular events — think heart attack. Epicardial fat has also been linked to the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and plaque in your artery walls.
The second type of heart fat is known as pericardial adipose tissue. Like with epicardial fat, the more of it you have, the more unhealthy your arteries are likely to be. And, it’s been linked with artery calcification as well as high blood pressure, low levels of HDL or “good cholesterol” and even metabolic syndrome.
Clearly, too much of either type of fat represents a clear and present danger to your health and your life.
Luckily though, as we mentioned earlier, thanks to a new study we now know how to win the battle of the fatty heart…
How to exercise to slim a fatty heart
The study, published in JAMA Cardiology, set out to determine which type of exercise was most effective at reducing heart fat — resistance (weight training) or endurance training (aerobic exercise).
The researchers assigned participants to either three months of resistance training or the same three months of endurance training. And here’s what they found…
Both endurance and resistance training were effective at reducing epicardial fat. In fact, endurance training resulted in a 32 percent decrease in that type of heart fat while weight training led to a 24 percent reduction.
However, only weight training had an impact on pericardial adipose tissue, which was reduced by 31 percent compared to no exercise.
“The resistance exercise training in this study was designed as a 45-minute interval type, medium load, high-repetition, time-based training (with five sets of 10 exercises),” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Regitse Hojgaard Christensen, a researcher at the Center of Inflammation and Metabolism and the Center for Physical Activity Research at the Copenhagen University Hospital.
“This specific exercise intervention alone was effective in reducing both fat depots of the heart. We did not combine resistance and endurance training, which would have been interesting to reveal their potential additive effects.”
In fact, that’s exactly what the researchers recommend based on the results of the study — to combine both weight lifting and some type of endurance training, like aerobics, walking, jogging or biking to grab all of the heart fat-reducing benefits.
So, if you want to win the battle of the fatty heart, lift weights, lunge, and squat, but don’t forget to jump on the treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike too.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
- Weightlifting better at reducing heart fat than aerobic exercise — Reuters
- A Layer of Fat Around Your Heart May Be Just as Risky as Belly Fat — Here’s Who’s Most Likely to Have It — Health.com
- Pericardial Fat — Essentials of Cardiac Anesthesia for Noncardiac Surgery
- Pericardial adipose tissue, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease risk factors: the Jackson heart study — Diabetes Care
- Pericardial adipose tissue and coronary artery calcification in The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) — Obesity