Having too much abdominal fat has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancer, but gearing up for a healthy future is as easy as becoming active and eating well. Increased activity and exercise can fight fat that lies deep within the abdomen and the fat that sits on top of your abdominal muscles. Use these tips to help flatten your stomach and tone your core in the next 8 weeks. Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.
Spot Reduction Myth
The American Council on Exercise found that spot reduction, or the idea that you can fight fat in specific areas of the body with certain exercises, is nothing more than a myth. Instead, increased physical activity and burning more calories than you consume will burn fat all over the body, including the area you are trying to target.
Engage in aerobic activity to burn calories and decrease fat in your entire body and your abdominal area. Each time you do an aerobic activity, you burn calories, which decreases body fat and tones muscle. You can run, jog, swim, bike, play tennis, join a kickboxing class or engage in any moderate or intense activity that increases your heart rate for at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Interval training will increase your calories burned and fight fat all over your body, including your belly. Alternate between a regular or light intensity to a higher intensity throughout your workout. If you are walking, walk for 2 minutes and then run for 30 seconds. Continue alternating in this fashion until your workout is over.
Strength training increases muscle mass and tone, which gives you a flat belly and increases the amount of calories you burn each day by raising your metabolism. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that each person should strength train all areas of the body at least 2 days a week. For a flat tummy in 8 weeks, you will need to increase the amount of time you spend building and toning your core.
Pelvic tilts will tone your lower abdominal muscles. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Contract your abdominal muscles and bring your pelvis up slightly towards the ceiling. Hold for 8 to 10 seconds, release and repeat 10 to 20 times.
Pelvic lifts tone deeper abdominal muscles that pelvic tilts do not reach. Begin on all fours with your tummy hanging loosely while you take a deep breath. Exhale and while you do, bring in your naval to your spine. Breathe while holding this position for 10 seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times.
To circuit train, you will perform many different resistance exercises in a short period of time with little to no resting period in between each one. Circuit training increases the amount of calories you can burn in a short period of time, so getting that flat belly in 8 weeks will be easier.
Exercise Ball for Abs
The American Council on Exercise commissioned the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University to conduct a study of the 13 most common abdominal exercises. The researchers found that the exercise ball is one of the top ways to tone abdominal muscles. Lie back on the ball with your knees bent and your feet flat against the floor. Your lower back should rest on the ball and your upper body should be parallel to the floor. Cross your arms over your chest. Raise your torso 45 degrees while exhaling. Inhale as you lie back. Repeat.
Reveal your toned abdominal muscles faster by increasing your exercise routine’s intensity and burning the fat that hides them. One minute of vigorous exercise, such as running, biking on hills or basketball, is equivalent to 2 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as fast walking or water aerobics.
10 Minutes is Enough
Breaking up exercise into 10-minute sessions is just as effective as a longer routine. Three 10-minute brisk walks a day will burn as many calories and help you lose abdominal fat just as effectively as one 30-minute walk. Break up your exercise sessions if you feel that time is keeping you from hitting your 8-week goal.
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to do About It
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- ACE Fitness: Circuit Training
- FitDay: Circuit Training Basics and Benefits
- Disabled World: Losing Belly Fat for Women; Jan. 27, 2008
- Kirtland College: What is Aerobic Exercise and Why should I do it?; Lisa Balbach