Extra fat around your tummy can not only be hard to get rid of, it can be dangerous to your health. The visceral fat that makes up a significant portion of belly fat is linked to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and insulin resistance.
Although spot reduction isn't possible — you can't solely target stomach fat — there are many exercises to burn fat throughout your body and tone the core muscles. This will help you deflate the spare tire and sculpt firmer abs.
To lose a spare tire, focus on conditioning your whole body.
Cardio to Burn Calories
To lose the spare tire fat, you have to burn fat throughout your body by creating a calorie deficit, you burn more calories than you consume. This forces your body to use stored fat as fuel. Running, jogging, swimming, bicycling and dancing are all forms of cardiovascular exercise that can help you burn fat, including fat in your midsection.
A 140-pound woman can burn around 277 calories bicycling for 30 minutes at 12 to 14 miles per hour. That same woman can burn about 319 calories running at 6 miles per hour in that same half hour. The more high-intensity cardio you do, the more calories you burn and the more weight you will lose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends doing no less than 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous, aerobic activity each week to lose weight.
Spare Tire Exercises
Training your abdominal muscles with abdominal holds, isometric ab squeezes, situps, crunches, prone planks, ab rollouts and knee raises helps melt fat and gives you a toned look. The American Council on Exercise suggests that doing these core-strengthening exercises two to three times a week will strengthen your ab muscles, stabilize your pelvis and improve the appearance of your waistline.
Love Handle Exercises
If you carry love handles, that extra fat that hangs just above your waist, doing core exercises that target your obliques can help tone the sides of your midsection and fill out some of the lose skin that may be left there once you lose weight and your waistline slims.
Exercises that work your obliques include side planks, side crunches, Russian twists, side bends, twisting knee raises and ballet twists. Incorporate these into your core-strengthening routine at least twice a week.
Overall Strength Training
Incorporating full-body strength training into your exercise routine will help you lose more body fat than doing cardio alone. According to Harvard Health Publishing, doing an hour of weight training twice a week can reduce your proportion of body fat by up to 4 percent and can help you keep off the visceral fat that bulges your belly.
In addition to core exercises, perform strength-training exercises for your arms and legs. Do pushups, pullups, biceps curls, triceps dips, presses and flyes to improve muscle tone in your upper body. Do squats, lunges, calf raises, leg lifts, hamstring curls and deadlifts to strengthen the muscles in your lower body. You can use weights, resistance bands or body weight for strength-training exercises.
- Harvard Health Publishing: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- American Council on Exercise: How Can I Get Rid of Belly Fat?
- HealthStatus: Calories Burned Calculator
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physocal Activity Basics: How Much Physical Activity Do You Need?
- Fitness: Ab Workouts: Our Top 10 Ab Exercises