The Best Exercises to Get Rid of Belly Fat

As people age, it’s not uncommon to develop fat in the abdominal region; this is often due (in part) to the act that muscle mass tends to decrease with age as body fat increases. Although belly fat can affect self-esteem or the ability to fit into your favorite clothes, studies have shown that it has a significant impact on your overall health.

Health Risks Associated with Belly Fat

Excess belly fat has been linked to several serious health conditions, including:

Due to these risks, it’s important to not only monitor your weight, but also the accumulation of fat around your midsection. There are three types of belly fat, but visceral fat is the most worrisome. Visceral fat sits deep around the organs and has been associated with numerous health problems. Even if you’re at a healthy weight and BMI (body mass index) you can still develop an excess amount of visceral fat.

Exercises for Getting Rid of Belly Fat

Fortunately, adding more physical activity to your daily routine is a very effective way to reduce unwanted belly fat. Although spot-training is a myth—there’s no way to remove fat from only one area of your body—some types of exercise are more effective for belly fat away than others. Here are a number of exercises that have proven benefits for helping to slim your waistline.

  1. Crunches. Crunches rank as one of the top exercises for burning fat and strengthening your core. Lay down flat with your knees bent while keeping your feet off the ground. Place your hand behind your head or keep them crossed over your chest and raise your upper body towards your knees. Make sure to breathe at a steady, even, and controlled pace.
  1. Walking. Walking is a simple and gentle way to incorporate more exercise into your day; it also has a positive impact on your metabolism and heart rate. Even better, walking is an exercise that can be done without any additional equipment—and you can squeeze it in between breaks at work. Aim for a 30-minute walk and walk at a pace that elevates your heart rate.
  1. Swimming. Swimming is an exercise that works all parts of your body and helps with overall fat loss. You can find specific exercises to do in the pool, or simply spend time swimming for 20 minutes straight to keep your heart rate up.
  1. Zumba. Zumba is a fun, high-intensity exercise that can help you improve your cardiovascular health, burn fat, and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. One study conducted with 19 women between the ages of 18 and 22 found they burned an average of 9.2 calories per minute—significantly more than step aerobics, power yoga, advanced Pilates, and cardio kickboxing.
  1. Vertical leg lifts. Leg lifts are a great exercise for your abs and obliques, as well as reducing belly fat and toning your body overall. Lie down on your back and place your palms below your hips. Slowly raise your legs to a 90-degree angle. Make sure to keep your feet pointing at the roof and your knees straight. Pause for a moment, then lower your legs down while exhaling.
  1. Cycling. Cycling burns a significant amount of calories and raises your heart rate, so it’s a wonderful exercise for overall fat loss and strengthening the cardiovascular system.
  1. Burpees. Burpees work your core, chest, shoulders, lats, triceps, and quads—and they get your heart pumping. Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart and lower your body to the ground to do a squat. Place your hands down on the floor next to your feet and hop your feet backward, so that your chest touches the floor. Then, lift your body into a plank position and jump, placing your feet outside of your hands. Put weight on your heels and jump upward, keeping your arms above you.
  1. Mountain Climbers. Mountain climbers are moving plank exercises that work your core along with the hamstrings, shoulders, triceps, and quads. Start in a plank position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders. Pull your right knee to your chest, then bring it back into a plank. Do the same with your left knee, and then continue alternating sides.
  1. Side-to-Side Medicine Ball Slams. This is a dynamic exercise that doesn’t target any one muscle group, but it’s very effective in toning your obliques. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the medicine ball on the ground on one side. Pick up the ball and rotate your body to slam the ball down near the opposite foot. Pivot your feet and bend your knee to form a split squat position while catching the ball. Keep alternating sides, making sure to keep your core tight each time you bring the ball over and to the side.
  1. Incline Running. Running at a slight grade instead of a flat surface can increase your total calories burned by as much as 50%. You can run up a hill outside or use an inclined treadmill. Start by walking or jogging for 5-10 minutes and gradually pick up the pace; then, run for 5-10 minutes. It’s not necessary to sprint; you just want to make sure you’re working hard enough that it would be difficult to hold a conversation. Drop your pace back down to a jog; keep alternating between jogging and running with 5-10 minute intervals for around 30 to 45 minutes.
  1. Rowing. A rowing machine is an excellent way to increase your heart rate and exercise your legs, core, arms, shoulders, and back. Start with 20 seconds of rowing, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat these steps 8 times and try to beat your previous distance. After completing a four-minute circuit, row 500 meters at a fast pace; make a note of the distance you rowed and try to beat it at your next workout.
  1. HIIT. Short, high-intensity workouts are among the most effective ways to burn fat. High-intensity interval training alternates between exercises that work different muscle groups, like squats, push-ups, kettlebell swings, and more. Start with a 10-minute warm-up, then spend 30 seconds doing as many reps of one exercise as possible. Rest for 30 seconds, then move on to a different exercise. Do this for 10 rounds. One of the great things about HIIT is that you can choose any of your favorite exercises—but make sure each one works a different set of muscles to allow the others to recover in between reps.
  1. Strength Training. In addition to cardio exercise, strength training can also help you lose fat and improve muscle tone. Try adding in some dumbbell squats, bicep curls, and dumbbell overhead lunges.
  1. Yoga. Although yoga won’t help you burn as many calories as lifting weights or HIIT workouts, it’s an excellent exercise for improving endurance and building muscle—both of which are essential for boosting your metabolism. There are many different types of yoga, but some of the most effective poses are the plank, chair, wheel, and Chaturanga.

Regardless of the exercise you choose, try to aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic or cardio exercise daily. It’s also important to make sure you enjoy what you’re doing, so take some time to explore different excises to find ones you’ll be able to stick with. After all, you want to feel motivated to exercise and look forward to your daily routine!

Additional Support is Available at Dr. Hubert’s Office

Belly fat can be stubborn, and unfortunately, there are no quick solutions to get rid of it. Weight loss requireDr. Hubert’s offices effort, commitment, and perseverance. Making a point to exercise regularly is a highly effective way to reduce belly fat and improve your overall health and well-being.

If you’re not sure where to start or you’d like additional support on your weight loss journey, a medical weight loss plan can help. Dr. Jennifer Hubert offers personalized weight loss plans that take a holistic approach to your health and weight loss challenges. Over the years, Dr. Hubert’s weight loss programs helped numerous patients develop sustainable, healthy habits that help them lose weight and keep it off. For more information, contact Dr. Hubert’s office to schedule a consultation.