Many women struggle with excess fat in the lower belly region. In fact, according to Harvard Health Publications, this is one of the main areas of the female body that collects fat, especially as women age. Harvard also notes, however, that this abdominal fat, called visceral fat, can also be easily reduced with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Keep in mind that spot training by itself is not a long-term solution for women wanting to flatten their stomach. Focusing in on this area with exercises like crunches and situps will likely not give you the results you want. Rather, you need to create a whole-body workout routine that will eliminate excess fat all over, along with making other lifestyle changes that will contribute to overall health and wellness.
Perform regular cardio exercise to help eliminate fat in the lower belly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adult women get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Some possible activities include brisk walking, jogging or running, along with low-impact options such as cycling or swimming. Many women enjoy group fitness classes, such as Zumba or water aerobics, which will also burn calories and melt fat to result in a flatter tummy.
Incorporate strength-training exercises into your fitness routine. In a study done by the University of Pennsylvania, two one-hour weight-training sessions done each week were found to reduce body fat by 4 percent. This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym for heavy weight lifting, either. Instead, try a series of body-weight exercises, such as pushups, situps, planks, squats and lunges. All of these activities will engage core muscles, which will help tighten and tone your abs, as well as providing a whole-body workout. Light dumbbells and resistance bands are also useful strength-training tools that women of all fitness levels can use.
Overhaul your diet to eliminate junk food, soda and other unhealthy choices that can contribute to excess fat in your midsection. Replace these foods and drinks with nutritionally sound options, like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plenty of water. Watch your portions but don’t decrease your calorie intake so much that your body goes into starvation mode, which can actually cause the body to store more fat and wreak havoc on your flat tummy plans. For women, the USDA recommends 1 1/2 cups of fruit, 2 1/2 cups of vegetables, 6 ounces of whole grains, 5 ounces of lean meats, 3 cups of dairy and 5 teaspoons of healthy oils, such those found in olive oil and nuts. These amounts are for women who are getting less than 30 minutes of exercise each day; women doing more exercise may have higher caloric needs.
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- American Council on Exercise: Q: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101
- Fitness: Strength Training for Beginners
- United States Department of Agriculture ChooseMyPlate: Choose a Food Group