Just because they're referred to as love handles, doesn't make them lovable. The excess fat that hangs out at the sides of your waistline increases your risk of health conditions, such as stroke, high blood pressure, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. Fortunately you can get rid of that jiggle by changing your diet and eating habits and committing to a regular exercise routine. You'll notice your entire body fat reducing, including those unsightly love handles.
Schedule 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on five or six days of the week. Cardio helps you burn calories so you lose weight. The American Council on Exercise suggests exercising at a comfortable pace during which you breathe faster but can still talk. Add variety and find exercises that you enjoy so you're less likely to skip your workout. Consider jumping rope, walking, jogging, rowing, bicycling or swimming.
Perform strength-training exercises on two or three days of the week to stimulate muscle mass, which promotes caloric burn. Avoid solely focusing on your abdominals. Also work your chest, back, hips, arms and legs. Use your body weight for resistance or use free weights, exercise bands or weightlifting machines. Finish eight to 12 repetitions per set with weight that's challenging enough to fatigue your muscles at the end of the set.
Perform targeted exercises to strengthen your obliques, which are hidden under your love handles. These exercises won't reduce fat but strengthen the muscles, so that when your abdominal fat reduces, well-defined muscles will show. Incorporate exercises, such as medicine ball and cable wood chops, bicycle crunches, diagonal knee raises in a captain's chair apparatus and torso twists on a stability ball.
Cut calories from your diet by eating smaller portions and swapping out high-calorie food for lower-calorie foods. For instance, replace soda and alcohol with water. Eat skinless chicken instead of fatty cuts of meat, such as sausage and ground beef. Focus on getting your nutrients from whole grains, fruits, low-fat or non-fat dairy, veggies and lean protein.
- Harvard Medical School: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- American Council on Exercise: Three Things Every Exercise Program Should Have
- Weight-Control Information Network: Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths
- Ask the Trainer: Best Oblique Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: How Are Overweight and Obesity Treated?