Breathing Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

A woman is practicing deep breathing.
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Losing stubborn belly fat requires commitment to a consistent exercise and healthy eating plan. It may surprise you to learn that breathing exercises can also help you lose weight by reducing stress and by improving your ability to exercise more intensely. Start specific breathing exercises three to four times per week in addition to a cardio and strength-training regimen to lose fat all over the body including your belly.

Breathe, Run, Burn Calories

Improving your breathing patterns can help you exercise more efficiently, meaning you can work out more intensely or for longer durations to burn off more calories. Poor breathing patterns -- such as breathing too shallowly or holding your breath --can leave you out of breath, cutting your workout short and minimizing your weight loss. To lose weight, you should do cardio five times per week for 45-minute sessions at a moderate intensity at which you can carry on a conversation. Learn to breathe naturally from your diaphragm by engaging the abdominal muscles as you exhale and inhale versus just breathing from your ribcage and chests. Your abdomen should inflate slightly as you breathe in and deflate as you exhale. This will help you run longer and harder, allowing you to burn more calories.

Less Stress, More Fat Loss

Trainer and contributor to "Forbes" Jennifer Cohen says that slowing down your breathing will aid in fat-loss. When you are stressed and tense, your breathing will most likely be faster, shallow and irregular. Not only is it difficult to exercise when you are in a state of stress, but the body also secretes more cortisol, a stress hormone that leads to fat storage particularly on the body's midsection. Avoid weight gain by breathing deeply and exhaling slowly by counting between three to seven counts, lengthening your exhales as your breathing improves. Try repeating a calming mantra such as "slow down" with each exhalation to reinforce a slower breathing pattern.

Breathe From The Mouth

Mouth breathing exercises decrease stress, a common fat loss inhibitor. This exercise also creates pressure in the abdominals to increase tone. Try this exercise in a seated or lying position. Open your mouth as you inhale and exhale focusing on counting up to 10 with each inhale. Your exhalation should be longer than the inhalation, meaning if you breathe in for six counts, your exhale should be for 12 counts. Start slowly by inhaling for two to four counts followed by exhaling for four to eight counts. Repeat the series three times for up to three sessions a day.

Other Factors

Breathing techniques can help you decrease stress levels for weight-loss, but cardio exercise, strength training and a nutritious diet are the absolute keys to long-term weight loss success. A nutrient-rich diet that focuses on vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats in moderation while eliminating or greatly reducing polyunsaturated fats and sugar will help you cut fat for a leaner physique.