Weightlifting can be more beneficial to obese people than aerobic exercises for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, says a study.

The research suggested that resistance training has proved to be more effective in reducing the amount of fat stored around the heart than aerobic training. According to it, a certain type of fat that is stored around the heart called pericardial adipose tissue is linked to several cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, Arrhythmia and heart valve problems.

The study published in the JAMA Cardiology earlier this week focussed on the effects of weightlifting and aerobics on obese people. Through observing a small sample of 32 individuals with abdominal obesity, the scientists found that those who got involved in resistance training had reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases than those who practiced aerobics for weight loss.

The scientists then said both the exercise forms also resulted in a reduction of a different type of heart fat called epicardial adipose tissue. This fat is also linked to heart disease.

On an average, 735,000 people in the United States are suffering cardiovascular diseases. It is one of the major causes for death for both men and women. Around 610,000 deaths are reported in the United States every year due to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In other words, one in every four deaths is caused due to cardiovascular diseases.

CDC reported that Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart problem faced by the Americans. It is taking the lives of 370,000 people every year. The major cause of this illness is increasing amount of pericardial adipose tissues stored around the heart, suggested a 2010 study titled 'Pericardial adipose tissue, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease risk factors.'

The latest study was led by Regitse Christensen, a researcher at the Center for Physical Activity Research and at the Center of Inflammation and Metabolism at the Copenhagen University Hospital.

She revealed that her team was really surprised with the findings and they could not explain why resistance training has a different effect on the body from aerobics training.

“We know from other studies that resistance training is a stronger stimulus for increased muscle mass and increased basal metabolism compared to endurance training and we therefore speculate that participants doing resistance training burn more calories during the day – also in inactive periods -- compared to those engaged in endurance training,” the researcher told canoe.com.

For the study, the researchers divided the participants into three groups. They asked the first group to focus on aerobic exercises, the second group to do weight training and the third group to make no change in their physical activities for three months. An MRI scan of the heart was also done on each of the participants at the beginning and at the end of the study.

“The resistance exercise training in this study was designed as a 45-minute interval type, medium load, high-repetition, time-based training. Participants performed three to five sets of 10 exercises and the sessions were supervised,” Christensen said.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that both the exercise forms reduced the amount of epicardial adipose tissue mass in the body as compared to no exercise. While endurance training reduced the fat by 32 percent, weight training reduced it by 24 percent.

However, aerobics training did not have an impact on pericardial adipose tissue. It was reduced by 32 percent with weightlifting as compared to no exercise. “This specific exercise intervention alone was effective in reducing both fat deposits of the heart. We did not combine resistance and endurance training, which would have been interesting to reveal their potential additive effects,” Christensen said.