Top Exercises for Belly Fat

As people get older, it’s common to see an increase of belly fat collect along the waistline. This is usually because muscle mass decreases with age as fat increases. Belly fat can make you feel self-conscious or can cause difficulty fitting into your favorite pair of pants.

However, there are also some health risks associated with excess belly fat, including:

Because of these risks, it’s a good idea to try to control your belly fat. There are three types of belly fat: subcutaneous, intramuscular, and visceral. Visceral fat is the type that sits between your organs and is known as belly fat. Even if you have a normal weight and body mass index (BMI), too much visceral belly fat can still lead to a variety of health problems. 

Exercises to Help Belly Fat

There are many exercises out there, but not all are created equal when it comes to banishing belly fat. However, scientists and doctors alike agree that incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is a great way to burn off unwanted belly fat. Here are some exercises for belly fat that you can try to help you slim down your waistline.

Aerobic or Cardio Exercise

Your first step in burning off visceral fat is including at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise or cardio into your daily routine. Studies show that aerobic exercises for belly fat help to reduce belly fat and liver fat.

Some great cardio of aerobic exercises for belly fat include:

  • Walking, especially at a quick pace
  • Running
  • Biking
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Group fitness classes

When choosing a cardio activity, make sure it’s something that you enjoy doing. This way, you’re more motivated and will look forward to your exercise routine.

HIIT or Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and interval training are exercise routines that incorporate short bursts of intense exercise mixed in with lower intensity moves and rest periods. Research shows that HIIT exercises for belly fat help control weight and improve your overall physical condition.

Continued

These routines aren’t very time-consuming but still get your heart pumping and work your entire body. Each routine has a selection of activities that include the following movements:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Squatting
  • Deadlifting
  • Loaded carries

Typically, a HIIT routine pairs 30 seconds of intense activity with 30 seconds of rest right after before moving on to the next activity. The sequence can be repeated a few times to get the maximum benefit.

Some HIIT exercises that people of all fitness levels and ages can try are:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Burpees
  • Push-ups
  • Jump squats
  • High knees

To get started, choose a handful of HIIT exercises for belly fat. Perform one activity for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Do the next activity, and then rest. When you finish all the activities, you can repeat the cycle a few more times.

Abdominal Exercises

Because belly fat sticks to the waistline and stomach region, doing some abdominal exercises can help to combat it. They can help to tone and flatten the stomach while providing you with a good source of exercise.

These exercises are great for men and women of any age. Some abdominal exercises for belly fat that you can try at home include:

  • 60-second planks
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Abdominal crunches
  • Leg lifts

Weight and Resistance Training

Weight training is also an important component of burning off belly fat. Since muscles burn off more calories than fat does when the body is at rest, having more muscle tone can help you to burn off more fat. Researchers have also found that resistance training, which includes weight training, can increase lean weight while decreasing fat, and it can boost metabolism at the same time.

Some weight training exercises for belly fat to include in your routine are:

  • Bicep curls
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Tricep kick-backs

With these exercises, you can do 12 repetitions with lighter weights, between five and eight pounds. Another option is to use heavier weights with fewer repetitions and rest time between sets.

Safety Considerations

While it’s important to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, you don’t want to overtrain and push yourself too hard. Sometimes when you overtrain, your body can produce too much cortisol. This is a stress hormone that is associated with belly fat, so overtraining may actually make it more difficult to burn off belly fat. Just keep in mind the recommendations for moderate regular exercise, and talk with your doctor if you have questions about how else your exercise routine can benefit your waistline.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 10, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Current sports medicine reports: “Resistance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health.”

For Care, Education, and Research: “The 12 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat for Men and Women.”

Journal of hepatology: “Effect of aerobic exercise training dose on liver fat and visceral adiposity.”

Mayo Clinic: “Belly fat in women: Taking and keeping it off.”

Rush University: “Losing Belly Fat.”

Texas Health: “Fit After 40: How to Fight Stubborn Belly Fat.”

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