The desire and need to lose belly fat is not just a matter of vanity, but also a necessity for staying healthy. Abdominal fat is linked to major health issues such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In fact, studies have shown that men with waists greater than 40 inches and women with waists greater than 34 inches have the highest risk of heart disease, especially if the fat is stored around the organs.
Losing Belly Fat
No matter how many twists, side-bends or crunches you do, you will not shred belly fat. Spot reduction seems like it should work, but it doesn’t. You need a well-rounded exercise program that includes cardio and strength training to shrink your belly. Here are some exercises and tips that may help:
Aerobic activity draws upon fat that is stored for energy. Perform aerobic exercises that elevate the heart and breathing rate, such as bicycling, brisk walking, dancing or jogging. If you’re just starting out, five to ten minutes may be all you can do comfortably. Over time, progress up to 30-60 minutes three or four times a week to really see results.
Exercise also reduces stress and insulin levels. When insulin levels go up, cortisol – another hormone – goes up as well, which makes you more predisposed to storing body fat. Regular exercise is a key factor in reducing stress and maintaining healthy insulin levels.
Build Muscle to Lose Fat
Strength training offers many benefits, including building lean body mass or muscle. Muscle tissue is metabolically active and burns more calories than fat tissue; so as you increase the amount of muscle you have, you will also increase your resting metabolic rate. Not only does strength training exercise consume a lot of energy, it also raises your metabolism! If you’re just starting, it’s a good idea to work with a certified professional trainer or instructor to get you moving in the right direction.
Total Body Transformation
In your quest to lose belly fat, you may start to lose fat from all over your body. Although fat can be lost throughout the entire body, the last areas to become lean are those areas where we tend to gain fat first. For many people, the abdominal region is the most difficult area to trim…so try to be patient, continue to remain motivated and you’ll eventually get your midsection to a place you can feel good about!
Remember to get extra movement in anytime you can. For example, take the stairs or park farther away from the office. The more physical activity you can get during the day—even if it seems minor—the more calories you burn, and every little bit helps you move closer to your goal! Consistent physical activity isn’t simply important to shedding belly fat, it can also help you prevent health risks and make you feel better about being in your own skin.