When it comes to losing weight, the tummy area can be very problematic for many, and for some it can take months and lots of hard work to slim down around the torso. However, the fat around your belly, known as visceral fat, can be more dangerous than the fat that sits just under the skin as it raps itself around your vital organs, making it hard for them to function as normal. The fat also begins to circulate around your bloodstream and makes you more susceptible to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
There are many things you do to help lose weight around your stomach, starting with a healthy diet and regular exercise, but which exercises are going to be the best when it comes to losing visceral fat?
It doesn’t matter which cardio exercise you choose, so whether you enjoy walking, running, cycling or swimming, pick one and commit. For the first twenty minutes, the body uses up your glycogen supply, and after that it begins to use up your excess fat for energy. Aim for at least 30-40 minutes per session and at least three sessions per week.
Running or vigorous cycling will cause your heart rate to increase, making you break out in a sweat and burn even more calories – but, to begin with, just stick to whatever you feel comfortable with. At first you may just take it easy, but after a couple of weeks you should start to enjoy it a little and notice you can push a little harder.
You may feel a bit silly, but star jumps use every single muscle in your body. Doing twenty star jumps three times a week can start to slowly eat away at your visceral fat. You can easily fit these in before a workout or before you jump in the shower in the morning too.
This stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which involves very short bursts of high energy movements or exercises followed by short bursts of low intensity alternatives. Alternating between walking and running has a similar effect, which can also be a great way of improving your stamina, breathing and agility at a faster pace than usual.
Improving your muscle strength can have an impact on your metabolism – more muscles means a faster acting metabolic system which helps your body burn calories quicker. Look for strengthening and toning exercise classes and aim to do these once or twice a week to improve your overall ability over time. When practising at home, you can get a hold of reasonably cheap workout gear including weights, or simply use a big bottle of water, tin cans or something similar.
The basic plank is a simple exercise that targets your entire body, but mostly focuses on your core. At first you may struggle to hold a plank for more than ten or thirty seconds, but once you start to practice these three or four times a week you will notice that your ability quickly improves.
So, in addition to healthy eating and calorie-counting to ensure that your food intake doesn’t exceed the energy that you burn, the weight around your belly should slowly start to drop off if you start to include one or two of these exercises into your weekly routine. Remember, one pound of fat equates to 3500 calories, so keep that in mind when it comes to exercising and dieting!
If you still struggle to shift the visceral fat around your belly, get in touch with your Bodyline nurse for more advice on what you can do.