Belly bulge is a troubling problem for many people, making us self-conscious and uncomfortable in our clothing with form-fitting waistlines that can feel too-tight. Considering that abdominal fat can surround the internal organs, contributing to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer and heart disease, flattening the stomach is more than a vanity issue: it’s a valid health concern.
Fortunately there are many tips from fitness experts and exercises recommended to help tone the midsection. Below are 6 top things everyone can do to reduce belly fat and strengthen the abdominal muscles.
1. Get Your Heart Going—
The number one step shown to reduce extra pounds around the middle is regular, consistent cardiovascular exercise. Doing 30 to 60 minutes of cardio per day has been shown to cause weight loss, and that includes the tummy area. (Source: Harvard Medical School.)
Brisk walking counts as cardio, so shrinking your waistline could be as simple as working a 30 minute walk into your lunch break, or watching a television show while you treadmill every day after work.
Consistency is the key, so find your favorite type of cardio and stick with it to see results.
2. Carve Out a Spot—
According to the Mayo Clinic, exercises involving “abdominal hollowing” movements are especially helpful for building core muscles and strengthening the deeper stomach muscles.
This exercise (often called Cat-Cow Pose in yoga) is performed on the hands and knees, by inhaling with a relaxed belly. Next, the abdominal muscles are pulled in on an exhale while lifting the navel up as close to the spine as possible.
When this exercise is performed a minimum of 10 times daily (especially when combined with daily cardio), it will eventually tighten the midsection from within, slimming and toning the stomach area.
3. Become a Biker—
While riding the stationary bicycle is a great way to get cardio for weight loss, this particular bike exercise known for tightening the core muscles is done on the back, with the legs in the air.
When lying on your back, keep the arms behind the head to support neck muscles, and try to touch the each elbow to the opposite knee as you air pedal to increase the cellulite burning and abdominal toning properties of this classic exercise.
4. Mix It Up—
Fitness trainers recommend doing a variety of abdominal exercises to work the assorted muscles because only working one section can actually cause that muscle group to bulge out, creating the opposite of the smoothing effect you’re seeking.
So if you’re only doing crunches, for example, consider adding other variations like knee raises, side twists, plank and abdominal machine reps, or using the exercise ball to force different core sections to join in on the fun.
5. Lift Weights to Lose Weight—
If you have a belly bulge, you have weight on your body to lose—you already know this. And one of the best ways to increase weight loss results is to build muscle, because resting muscle burns more calories than resting fat, speeding up metabolism.
Consider adding some form of strength training such as weight machines or weightlifting to your weekly workout a few days a week. This extra muscle mass might be just the thing your body needs to burn off that belly fat for good.
6. Flutter to Fitness—
A popular core-strengthening exercise is the scissor-style exercise mat move referred to as doing “flutter kicks.”
Flutter kicks are done by lying on the back with arms at the sides, with the heels raised 6 inches off the ground. Engage the abdominal muscles and hold them tight while moving the legs up and down in the air. Be careful to keep the back and neck muscles relaxed, and focus on only using the stomach.
When done consistently, flutter kicks are another excellent belly fat buster because they strengthen abdominal muscles from the inside out.
In addition to adding extra exercise, don’t forget about the fat-fighting friend we have in water. Water assists with digestion and reduces bloating and constipation, both of which can contribute to a bigger-looking belly. Water also clears the body of toxins, and the cleaner our system, the faster we lose weight, so be sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses a day.
By using the fitness trainer tried-and-tested tips above, anyone can eliminate annoying tummy fat and build a flatter, firmer stomach. Get started today, and kiss that belly bulge bye-bye!