Can Belly Dancing Flatten Your Stomach?

Shimmying, wiggling and undulating your belly provides a solid core workout and could help you lose fat, if you combine it with healthy eating and other cardiovascular exercise. On its own, however, belly dancing alone won't give you a flat stomach.

Can Belly Dancing Flatten Your Stomach? (Image: Zhenikeyev/iStock/Getty Images)

People of all shapes and sizes belly dance, and the swanky moves help you burn calories — which, in turn, can lead to a flatter stomach. Belly dancing doesn't compensate for poor dietary choices, an overconsumption of alcohol or otherwise sedentary lifestyle, though.

The Belly Dancing Burn

Becoming more physically active level while maintaining or reducing your calorie intake, helps you lose weight. You probably won't get a perfectly flat stomach with weight loss, but it will shrink somewhat along with other parts of your body.

Like any type of exercise, the ability of belly dancing to help you lose weight depends on how much you do it and how intensely you dance.

To lose notable weight, some of which will come off your stomach, you must exercise at a moderate intensity at least 250 minutes per week says the American College of Sports Medicine. This amount will likely lead you to burn more energy than you consume. Of course, to make sure this happens, you'll have to keep tabs on what you eat -- moderate portion sizes are important, as is limiting your intake of sugars, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.

A rigorous hour of belly dancing can help you fry 250 to 300 calories. If you take a class that emphasizes technique and drills such as hip circles and camels, you're going to burn fewer calories. Going for a full hour of serious dancing takes serious stamina and ab control, too.

It'll take more than one or two belly dancing classes per week to burn the calories necessary to lose weight and get a flatter stomach. A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories -- so you must have a caloric deficit, meaning you burn more than you eat, of 500 calories per day for a week to lose just one pound. If you aren't vigorously dancing daily, supplement it with other cardio exercise, such as hiking, bike riding or other forms of dance.

Can Belly Dancing Flatten Your Stomach? (Image: katrinaelena/iStock/Getty Images)

Core Moves

Belly dancing does involve serious manipulation of your hips and abdomen, which builds endurance, muscle and strength. But, you can't directly burn off fat from any area -- including your stomach. Belly dancing might hone definition in your abs that you can see once you lose extra padding, but it won't work some spot-reducing magic.

Moves that can help you develop nice abs to be revealed once you lose weight:

Hip Rolls: Stand feet hip-distance apart and let your hands float slightly to the sides of your body. Cock your hips right, forward, left and back. Make the movement smooth and fluid and then repeat in the opposite direction.

Camels: Stand with your arms at your sides and push your chest forward by drawing your shoulder blades back. Then start to make an "S"-like motion by pulling the belly in, tucking the pelvis and pressing your shoulders forward.

Figure Eights: Lean to the right as you lift your right hip and heel. Return to center with grounded feet and repeat on the left. Find a fluidity to the transition between sides as you move to music.

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