Some people are more prone than others to gaining fat in the lower belly. Women are more likely than men to develop belly fat, especially after menopause, and those with apple-shaped bodies, unlike pear-shaped bodies, usually run the risk of gaining weight in the stomach. But there are measures you can take to reduce belly fat.
Harvard University reports that fat in the abdomen is usually visceral fat, whereas the fat that you gain in your butt and thighs is subcutaneous fat, or just under the surface. Visceral fat, which surrounds your organs, is more dangerous and can lead to difficult medical conditions, such as heart disease, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Harvard University also reports that visceral fat may be active fat and can actually release hormones that will affect your health, such as leptin, which affects your appetite, and adiponectin, which affects your insulin sensitivity.
One of the main culprits in stomach and lower belly fat is your diet. Eating meals and snacks that consist of processed food, sugars, white flour, saturated fat and trans fats will lead to fat gain. And if you are prone to gaining belly fat, that is where it will end up. Changing the type of foods you eat to include more wholesome, nutritious meals will greatly benefit you and your health. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, poly- and monounsaturated fats, and lean proteins will help to reduce the amount of fat that you have on your stomach.
Cardiovascular exercise not only strengthens your heart, but also helps burn fat and calories, and is an effective weapon against belly fat. Harvard University recommends at least 30 minutes of daily activity that requires an exertion of energy, though researchers do say that 60 minutes a day would be even better. Harvard University also reports that running seems to be particularly helpful in burning up and keeping off visceral fat. Incorporating a jogging or running plan into your workout program one to three times per week will lead to beneficial results.
Lifting weights or participating in an activity such as yoga, which helps to build lean muscle mass throughout your body, can also fight visceral fat. Lean muscle mass helps to boost your metabolism and the amount of calories that you burn in a day. To maximize calorie burn, opt for programs that strengthen all of the muscle groups in your body, rather than just your abdominal, or core muscles.