What Exercise Burns Fat Around the Waist & Hips?

Runner - woman running in park
Fat loss comes down to burning off more calories than you consume. (Image: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images)

The American Council on Exercise confirms that spot reduction is not a viable approach to weight loss. Losing fat around the waist and hips does not require site-specific exercises. Instead, you can focus your time and energy on any calorie-burning activity. Aerobic exercises like walking, running, cycling and dancing burn fat by rhythmically working large muscle groups for extended periods of time. Strength training exercises like pushups, free lifting and cable pulls tone and strengthen specific muscle groups and burn waist and hip fat in the process.

The Shoe Rubber Hits the Road

Walking and running are aerobic exercises that burn fat across the body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activities like running to maintain a calorie balance. If running is a bit fast-paced for you, the CDC encourages at least 150 minutes per week of walking or other moderate aerobic activities per week. Finding friends to exercise with can be key to maintaining your consistency. A running group, walking club, or just a friend with similar fat loss goals can help keep you motivated on days you’d rather not work out.

Pedal Power

Cycling is a moderate aerobic exercise that cuts fat from your waist and hips by burning calories. Running errands by bike can help you get a workout in on busy days. Commuting at least part of the way to work by bicycle can be a daily fat-burning ritual. You can also join a cycling group like Critical Mass to get your workout in while socializing. Stationary cycling at the gym or in your home can serve as a substitute for days when the weather doesn’t permit a comfortable bike ride.

Waist-Reducing Weight Training

Strength training exercises also burn fat around the waist and hips. The CDC recommends at least two strength training sessions per week. Some examples of fat-burning exercise are the bench press, leg curls and cable pulls. If you don’t have access to the gym, you can still burn fat with bodyweight exercises like pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups or crunches. Do workouts that focus on every major muscle group. For each exercise, perform two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each.

Change it Up

Changing up your routine can help you stay motivated when an intense conventional workout doesn’t sound so appealing. Aerobic-based dance classes like waltz, salsa, belly dancing and hip hop can help take your mind off the fact that you’re exercising. Rollerblading and skateboarding are also good distractions from the daily workout grind. When you have chores to do, vacuuming, mowing and raking leaves can all be turned into a workout at the right speed. All of these activities are considered moderate aerobic exercises by the CDC. To get the full benefits from any aerobic exercise, make sure you go at least 10 minutes without stopping.

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