While everyone has belly fat, excess visceral belly fat (abdominal obesity) can be detrimental to your health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines abdominal obesity as a waistline of more than 35 inches and 40 inches in women and men respectively. Unfortunately, according to a 2014 government study published in the September 2014 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 50% of the American adult population has abdominal obesity, up from 46% in 1999 — 2000. On average, American women and men gained two inches an inch respectively during the 12-year study period.
That said, excess belly fat risk factor for serious health problems including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including colon and breast cancer, the CDC warns. To lower your risk of developing these conditions, you should lose belly fat. Here are three effective strategies to lose belly fat.
Exercise, whether vigorous or moderate, helps to burn fat throughout the body, including visceral belly fat. In general, exercising for at least 30 minutes for five days a week or more would help you lose abdominal fat. At this point, it is worth noting that any physical activity, such as raking leaves, cleaning your home and gardening, would help you achieve this goal.
That means that your goal should be to engage in physical activities that would cause your heart to beat faster and work up a sweat. High volume cardio or aerobic exercises are particularly effective in getting rid of unwanted belly fat, according to a 2015 study involving post postmenopausal women published in the JAMA Oncology journal. Moreover, a 2014 study appearing in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (JSSM) found aerobic exercise produces better results when combined with strength training exercise.
Add variety to your workouts.
Workouts are generally boring, especially if you have been doing one program for several weeks. A good way to fight the monotony is to switch from one program to another within the week. For example, you can do strength training one day, followed by cardio the next, followed by core exercises on the third session.
Embrace high intensity workouts
High intensity workouts jack up your metabolism, helps you lose a large amount of calories in a short amount of time, and helps you reshape your body. This type of exercise maximizes the EPOC effect, more commonly known as afterburn. A higher EPOC effect means that your body becomes more efficient in burning calories long after the workout is over, because strenuous, intense exercise requires the body to rebuild its oxygen stores for a longer period of time, in some cases up to 24 hours post workout.
If you are working out alone, the monotony of any workout can add to the negativity that most people already associate with exercise. Use music that is upbeat and you will feel energized and you’ll even start to enjoy your workouts without noticing how long each set is. Music is really useful if you do not have a workout partner in the gym or if you work out at home.
Research indicates that several diets help shed excess belly fat. For instance, a 2015 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found a low-carb diet, less than 50 grams of carbohydrates every day, could help women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and obese individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes and lose unwanted belly fat.
Moreover, according to a 2014 study published in the Mediators of Inflammation journal, shunning refined carbs and consuming unprocessed starchy carbs instead could boost your metabolism and more importantly, reduce belly fat. Perhaps the most famous study relating to diet and belly fat is the 2010 Framingham Heart Study published in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition.
The study found people who consume refined grains are about 80% more likely to develop abdominal obesity compared to people who consume high amounts of whole grains. Some supplements can also be helpful.
According to recent research, getting plenty of restful sleep every night can help you lose belly fat. For instance, a 2008 study appearing in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition found individuals who fail to get enough sleep tend to gain more weight than individuals who get enough sleep. Furthermore, a 16-year study involving over 68,000 women published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found the study subjects who slept less than five hours every night were significantly more likely to gain weight compared to the subjects who slept at least seven hours per night.
Americans are increasingly gaining belly fat, according to recent research from the CDC. Fortunately, you can use the three strategies discussed in this article to lose belly fat.