Visceral fat is considered the most dangerous type of fat, as it tends to surround vital organs. Individuals with higher amounts of visceral fat are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart disease. According to researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, regular exercise can keep visceral fat at bay. The 97 participants were randomly assigned to three groups: aerobic training, resistance training or no exercise. They were also placed on an 800-calorie-a-day diet and lost an average of 24 pounds.

Those in the exercise groups were then asked to continue exercising 40 minutes twice per week for 1 year. “What we found was that those who continued exercising,
despite modest weight regains,
regained 0% visceral fat a year
after they lost the weight,” states lead study author, Gary Hunter, PhD. “But those who stopped exercising, and those who weren’t put on any exercise regimen at all, averaged about a 33% increase in visceral fat.” The study was published online in the journal Obesity (2009; doi:
10.1038/oby.2009.316).