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Cardiovascular exercise helps reduce belly fat.
Ian Wyatt/Photodisc/Getty Images
Whether you blame genetics, aging, unhealthy diet, or a sedentary lifestyle, nobody likes a flabby belly. Aside from affecting your appearance, excess fat around your midsection is linked to serious health conditions including heart disease and type-2 diabetes. To reduce belly fat, make cardio, strength training and a healthy diet part of your lifestyle.
Blast Belly Fat with Cardio Exercise
The American Council on Exercise recommends doing 60 minutes of cardio on most days to burn calories and belly fat. Go jogging, jump rope, ride a bike, climb stairs, or use an elliptical or rowing machine. On two days of the week, incorporate high-intensity intervals into your routine. The ACE states that this type of training effectively reduces body and belly fat. You can do high-intensity intervals by speeding up to a vigorous pace for one minute before recovering with two minutes of moderate cardio. Alternate the intensities throughout your workout. For instance, alternate between a jog and a sprint, or between a moderate bicycling pace and a vigorous bicycling pace. In a 30-minute session you can burn about 300 to 500 calories.
Strength Training to Rev Your Engine
Strength training helps you lose belly fat, because the muscle tissue you stimulate burns more calories than fat to sustain itself. Even when you're resting, your raised metabolism is still burning calories. You'll lose weight from your entire body including from the area around your stomach. ACE recommends emphasizing exercises that work large muscles for optimal caloric burn. They suggests strength training on two to three nonconsecutive days a week so your muscles have enough time to recover between workouts. During a 30-minute vigorous weightlifting session, a 155-pound person can burn about 112 to 223 calories. Exercises can include pullups, pushups, lunges, bench presses, squats, and deadlifts.
Targeted Exercises to Lose Inches
Targeted exercises alone won't reduce fat from your midsection, but will tone and strengthen your muscles, help prevent injuries, improve posture and athletic performance, and take inches off your waist. In addition to traditional abdominal exercises, such as basic crunches, bicycle crunches, and reverse crunches, perform core exercises, like front planks and side planks that require you to hold your body straight as a plank for a limited duration. During these exercises it's essential to keep your back from arching and to engage your transverse abdominis by pulling your belly button toward your spine.
Watch Your Caloric Intake
Eating a healthy, reduced-calorie diet is essential to support your weight-loss effort. It takes a daily deficit of 500 calories to lose one pound of fat in seven days. MayoClinic.com suggests making manageable dietary changes, such as eating smaller portions, skipping weight-loss-sabotaging foods, and replacing high-calorie cookies, candy and chips, with low-calorie, nutritious veggies and fruits. Before you begin a weight-loss regimen, prioritize safety and don't hesitate to consult your doctor, especially if you have a health condition or injury.