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Regular exercise helps reduce belly fat.
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In addition to being linked to health conditions such as hypertension and heart disease, excess belly fat can affect your appearance. Although spot-reducing abdominal fat isn't possible, you can reduce the fat from your midsection by losing fat from your entire body. When your body slims down, so will your tubby tummy. Achieving this requires a caloric deficit that's accumulated through diet and exercise.1.
Add up the average amount of calories that you consume in a day, and subtract 500 to 1,000 calories from this number to determine how many calories you should consume daily to lose weight at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, most women lose weight by consuming 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day, and most men lose weight on a daily diet of 1,200 to 1,600 calories.
Perform 150 to 250 minutes of moderate cardio a week, as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine. Cardio burns calories that add to your caloric deficit. Engage in exercise such as brisk walking, doubles tennis, ballroom dancing or water aerobics. Maintain an exercise intensity that still enables you to talk but not sing.3.
Incorporate high-intensity intervals into your cardio routine on three days of the week. According to study results in the Journal of Obesity, high-intensity intervals are the most effective at reducing belly and body fat. Go back and forth between a short period of intense cardio and a less intense recovery pace. For instance, alternate between a three-minute jog and a one-minute sprint, or go from a brisk walk into a short jog.4.
Engage in strength training on at least two days of the week, as recommended by Harvard Health Publications. Strength training preserves and builds muscle tissue, which helps you burn calories more efficiently and takes up fewer inches then fat. Work your large muscle groups with exercises such as crunches, bench presses, lunges, bent-over rows, shoulder presses and squats. Start with one set of 10 to 12 reps per exercise. As you get stronger and master perfect form, add two more sets.5.
Eat a high-fiber diet that contains foods with a low-glycemic load. High-fiber foods are filling and promote satiety, while low-glycemic foods reduce hunger and caloric intake because they don't cause undesired insulin spikes. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this dietary pattern has a favorable effect on your waist circumference and body mass index. Include a variety of fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans and legumes, and reduced-fat dairy. Limit or avoid processed and red meats, white bread, sugary soda and commercial fast foods.6.
Track your caloric intake from food since the calories can still add up even though you're eating healthy foods. Read food labels to determine the calories per serving size, and consider reducing your portion sizes so you consume fewer calories.7.
Meditate or practice yoga, tai chi and deep breathing to manage stress in your life, as high stress levels increase the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol in your body. According to experts at the University of New Mexico, cortisol has the ability to relocate fat that's stored elsewhere in your body to your abdomen. Cortisol also increases your appetite and triggers cravings for sugary and fatty high-calorie foods.
- Consult a doctor prior to beginning a diet and exercise routine, particularly if you've been inactive or have a medical condition or injury.