When your pants get snug and your waistline looks a tad larger, do you turn to abdominal exercises? Below are four realistic tips and facts to safely reduce your waistline and smooth out extra belly fat.
1. Plan to exercise for 2 1/2 hours per week to reduce your belly fat. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends spreading the 2 1/2 hours throughout the week so you are performing daily abdominal exercises. Exercising for hours on end over the weekend is not recommended.
2. Sit-ups alone will not reduce your belly fat. Exercise combined with a deficit in calories leads to abdominal toning. Calculate the number of calories you eat per day and the number of calories you burn each day from work, exercise and participating in hobbies. If you burn more than you consume, you will lose weight, explained Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Deborah L. Mullen from Simple Fitness Solutions .
3. Target your entire core, not just your belly. By strengthening your heart and increasing your lung capacity, it will become increasingly easier to tackle abdominal-focused exercises. Include strength training, toning and aerobic exercise in your plan to attack belly fat.
4. When it is time to work the abs, don’t forget to focus on the lower abdominal muscles. For women, these muscles are positioned under the area where excessive weight tends to cling after pregnancy. Do pelvic tilts, pelvic lifts, abdominal crunches and abdominal curls with the assistance of a personal trainer, suggests the Mayo Clinic. After 40 years of age, hormonal changes cause women to have a slight rounding of the abdomen, making it physically difficult to achieve a perfectly flat belly.
Sources and Suggested Further Reading:
Mayo Clinic, “Belly fat in women: How to keep it off”, Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic, “Belly fat in men: Why weight loss matters”, Mayo Clinic
Deborah L. Mullen, CSCS, “Truth About Training The Abdominal Muscles “, Simple Fitness Solutions