Belly fat consists of subcutaneous fat which is deposited under the skin (visible as spare tires and love handles), and visceral fat which lies deep within the abdomen and surrounds the internal organs. The visceral fat is what leads to health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
Losing belly fat is therefore important, not just for appearances, but in order to maintain a healthy existence. The good news is that by simply adjusting your diet and following an effective exercise program, you can in fact reduce belly fat and along with it, the risk of contracting various chronic diseases.
The question is often asked:
What is the best exercise to lose belly fat?
Before you even go off and invest in expensive AB machines consider that a study by Duke University Medical Center researchers revealed aerobic exercise to be the most efficient and most effective way to lose the belly fat that is most damaging to your health.
“Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass, but if you are overweight, which two-thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories.” – Dr. Cris Slentz, Duke University Medical Center
Embark upon an exercise program which incorporates high level of aerobic exercise and see the fastest results for losing belly fat. Work all muscle groups and see your belly fat disappear. It is important to do some resistance exercises too since this will build lean muscle which will in turn increase your metabolism.
You can go about your aerobic exercise by joining an aerobics class or simply by taking up running, walking, swimming, cycling, rowing or using an elliptical trainer.
How long should you exercise for?
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone do some form of cardiovascular exercise for minimum of 30 minutes 5 to 7 days per week. You can do the exercise all at once, or if you prefer, you can break it down and exercise 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 minutes in the evening.
It is important to do aerobic exercise every day. Simply plan an exercise schedule, preferably exercising at the same time every day. If you find yourself not wanting to exercise, don’t worry, stick with it for 30 days and you will have formed a habit. You will become accustomed to the routine and will soon find yourself looking forward to it.
Remember with every exercise session to include about 10 minutes of warm-up and cool-down. This will increase blood flow to the muscles and decrease the chances of muscle or joint injury. Warm-ups can include light stretching and a gradual increase in intensity of the exercise. Cool-down should include a gradual decrease in the pace of exercise followed by some stretching.