Belly fat has been proven to be the most dangerous type of fat there is. Doctors aren’t sure why, but abdominal fat is related to numerous health risks.
Have you gotten a little thick around the middle? If so, here are some fantastic exercises to lose belly fat and decrease your risk of heart disease.
Exercises to Lose Belly Fat: Cardio
Cardio can help you lose fat all over your body – which is good, because to lose fat around your belly, you have to lose it everywhere. Our bodies tend to accumulate fat in certain areas, based largely on genetics. If you tend to store it around your middle, decreasing your body fat percentage can make you healthier and give you the flat stomach you’ve always wanted.
There are no “best” cardio exercises to lose belly fat. The very best cardio routine is one you’ll stick with for the long haul. Choose a few different activities that you enjoy doing, and try to participate in them at least 5 hours a week.
If you’re into home improvement, do some lawn and garden work. If you’re a parent, play with your kids at the park or take them for long walks down nature trails. If you have a dog, take it for walks or toss a ball or Frisbee for exercise. If you prefer a more social environment, join a group exercise class at your local gym or recreation center.
Exercises to Lose Belly Fat: Core Strength
Getting a slim stomach requires more than endless sit-ups and crunches. Variations on these exercises can help you whittle your waist faster. For example, instead of regular crunches, the American Council on Exercise recommends vertical leg crunches. These are performed lying on your back with your legs held at a 45 degree angle from the floor.
Core strength can also be developed by doing leg lifts and crunches with the help of an exercise ball. Exercise balls require you to maintain your balance, which puts all of your core muscles to work. For muscle symmetry, be sure to work your back muscles as well.
Exercises to Lose Belly Fat: Yoga
(Use caution with Yoga if you have low back pain!)
When it comes to stress reduction and core strength building, it’s hard to beat yoga in terms of efficiency. Yoga can reduce the production of stress hormones and strengthen your abdominal muscles, making it an excellent exercise to lose belly fat.
Whenever your body is stressed out (due to mental or emotional stress, illness, injury, or the overuse of stimulants), it responds with an attempt at self-preservation. Your brain releases the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to start storing fat – particularly around the waist. This response is a throwback to the days when our ancestors had to survive times of famine.
Yoga includes breathing and stretching exercises that relieve muscle tension and reduce the production of cortisol. Yoga also places an emphasis on relaxed, flowing motions. It can be used to calm the mind, slow down the heart, and lower blood pressure.
In addition to these benefits, many yoga poses are highly efficient for toning your midsection. Look for poses that are performed in the supine position, or seated and standing poses that require you to extend your legs and maintain balance.
With a regular routine of cardio, core strengthening, and yoga, you will lose inches from your waist and enjoy better health and relaxation.
Yours in health,
Dr Jason Hurst, DC, CCSP, CSCS