When fat stores in your belly it's especially dangerous; belly fat is linked to heart problems and serious health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension. Although genetics, gender and age are partly to blame for belly fat, reducing it is essential to your health. This will require a combination of diet and exercise. As your body slims down, so will the fat around your gut.
Cut back on the amount of calories you consume. A daily 500-calorie deficit is needed to lose one pound a week. To achieve this, limit sugar and saturated and trans fats, which are found in desserts, soda, fatty meats, high-fat dairy, lard and baked and fried foods. Replace these foods with healthy, nutrient-rich choices, such as veggies, fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean protein.
Work up a sweat and burn calories through cardiovascular exercise. Perform one hour of cardio on five days of the week. Exercise at a moderate intensity -- your heart and breathing rate should increase, but you should still be able to talk. Engage in group sports, walk briskly, ride a bike, go jogging, jump rope, swim laps, take a dance class, or exercise on the elliptical machine or stair climber. Find activities that you enjoy so you'll stick to your routine.
Incorporate high-intensity interval training, HIIT, into your cardio routine so you burn calories more efficiently and continue to burn calories even after finishing your workout. During interval training, alternate between exercising at an easy-to-maintain moderate pace and a vigorous pace during which you can't talk anymore. For instance, jog for two minutes, and then speed up to a sprint for one minute, or pedal on an elliptical machine at a moderate pace for two minutes before speeding up to a vigorous pace. Continue alternating intensities for 15 minutes.
Schedule strength training on two days to stimulate muscle tissue, which can boost your metabolism by 15 percent and helps reduce belly fat, according to Harvard Health Publications. Work your abs, hips, back, shoulder, legs, chest and arms, by doing two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions per exercise. Perform exercises, such as dumbbell lunges and squats for your legs, overhead shoulder presses and lateral raises for your shoulders, and bench presses and flyes for your chest. Use your bodyweight, free weights, exercise bands or weightlifting machines for resistance.
Make abdominal exercises part of your strength training routine. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, abdominal exercises won't reduce belly fat, but will strengthen your stomach muscles, which can reduce hip and lower back pain and stabilize your torso. Additionally, when your belly fat melts, you have a well-defined tummy. Do exercises such as crunches, reverse crunches and bicycle crunches. To do reverse crunches, lie face up on the floor with your arms at your sides and your knees bent 90 degrees so your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Then engage your abs and raise your hips off the floor as if trying to bring your knees to your head. To do bicycle crunches, lie in a similar position as when doing reverse crunches. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing out. Crunch up and twist your torso, bringing your right elbow and left knee together while extending your right leg. Repeat the motion on your other side to finish one rep.
- Rush University Medical Center: An Expert Opinion: Is There Really "One Trick" to Losing Belly Fat?
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: How Are Overweight and Obesity Treated?
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Strength and Power Training: A Guide for Adults of All Ages; Harvard Health Publications
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Benefits of Strong Abdominal Muscles
- Shape.com: 8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)