Belly fat is not only an annoyance in looking and feeling good, but it is also associated with a variety of health risks. Carrying extra weight around the middle puts people at higher risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and even some types of cancer. Targeted exercises, such as sit-ups, can tighten abdominal muscles, but don’t really spot reduce belly fat.
Belly or abdominal fat is combined of 2 types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is the kind you can grasp with your hand. Visceral fat lies deep within the abdominal cavity between the organs. It is the latter that is most serious for health. The best approach for losing belly fat is combing moderate, regular exercise with a sensible diet.
Losing fat requires cutting calories – plain and simple. Fat is built on the body by taking in more calories than are being used. To lose weight, this pattern needs to be reversed. This is best achieved through a combination of diet and exercise.
There are two types of exercise that are beneficial when trying to burn calories to lose weight. Aerobic exercise, also referred to a “cardio,” consists of moderate sustained exercise that lasts for periods of 10 minutes or longer. This includes using exercise equipment, such as running on a treadmill, peddling an exercise bike, or using an elliptical trainer. Anaerobic exercise is generally short bursts of intense exercise, such as weight lifting or other forms of resistance training. Aerobic exercise is commonly thought to burn more calories. However, resistant exercise builds muscle, which increases metabolic rates and helps burn more calories while the body is at rest. An exercise program combining elements of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise delivers the best results.
Exercise bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair climbers, and rowing machines are all great choices for aerobic exercise. To better ensure a satisfactory workout, it is best to look for quality equipment that will hold up over time with repeated use. For resistance training, home gyms, weight machines, and weight sets are all useful devices. Some strength exercises, such as push-ups, require no special exercise equipment at all. To lose weight and combat abdominal fat, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended 3-5 days a week.
Before beginning an exercise program, it is important to seek the advice of a physician. A doctor can screen for any possible health risks or conditions, as well as provide advice on proper diet and exercises for a particular individual’s current fitness level.