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Regular exercise can whittle away the pounds.
The ideal exercise routine is fun and effective. It can make you lose excess weight, including that unsightly belly fat, which according to MayoClinic.com makes you more susceptible to health conditions including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer. To lose weight, experts recommend combining a healthy diet with regular exercise. By creating a workout routine that you enjoy, you'll be more likely to stick with it and keep the weight off.
Although it's tempting to lose weight quickly, it often requires drastic measures that can take a toll on your health and are hard to maintain long-term. Additionally, the weight is often quickly gained back. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends ideally losing weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week. Since 1 pound of fat has 3,500 calories, you must create a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories each day to achieve this.
An ACE-sponsored study showed that captain's chair exercises, crunches on a stability ball, bicycle crunches and reverse crunches, most effectively work your abdominals. These exercises are beneficial, because they strengthen your abs, improve your posture and athletic performance, and alleviate lower back pain. While these exercises may improve the appearance of your "fat belly,"you can't lose fat from just one area of the body. When you lose fat, it comes from all over your body, and that requires including some cardio in your workout.
Breaking a Sweat
Cardiovascular exercise makes you breathe harder, increases your heart rate and body temperature, and burns calories. The minimum recommendation for this type of exercise is at least 150 minutes a week, though as many as 300 minutes may be required to lose body fat. However, consistently jogging on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike can get tedious. Instead, find activities that you enjoy and add variety to your routine. Take a dance class, go ice skating or hiking, play tag or jump rope with the kids, or participate in group sports. Also, exercise with a friend so it becomes more of a social engagement that you start looking forward to.
According to the American Heart Association, resistance training can effectively reduce body fat including that dreaded belly fat. It raises your resting metabolism so you burn calories even at rest. There's no excuse not to do this type of exercise, because even if you don't have access to weightlifting machines, you can use your body weight, dumbbells, food cans, water bottles, or exercise bands for resistance. Challenge your major muscle groups with exercises, such as lunges, squats, chest presses, bent-over rows and pushups.
Diet and Safety
If you continue to eat fatty, sugary, high-calorie foods, and neglect to change your diet, you'll just gain back all the calories you burned by exercising. Small dietary changes, such as replacing chips, candy and cookies, with fruits and veggies, and drinking water instead of soda and alcohol, can reduce your caloric intake, as can eating smaller servings. Before dieting or committing to a workout regimen, consult your doctor to ensure that your chosen regimen is safe for your physical condition.