We all want to have that flat, tight abs and look fabulous this summer. Ladies, I’m pretty sure that having a flat stomach will make you flaunt a nice swimwear. Gents, don’t you want six-pack abs that will turn heads at the pool? But let me give you another reason why getting rid of belly fat is a great move. It doesn’t only improve your self-image but also portrayed as a sign of peak fitness. Clinically known as central obesity, it usually occurs due to accumulation of excess fat in the abdominal area resulting in an increase in waist size. Obesity is determined by waist and hip measurements. Women with a waist size of 35 inches or more and 40 inches in men are considered obese. People have referred to it as belly fat, love handles, spare tire, beer belly, or potbelly. And the abdomen is certainly the most difficult part of our body to keep in shape.
Abdominal obesity is often associated with several health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. In addition, belly fat is a symptom of metabolic syndrome and is an indicator used in the diagnosis of that disorder. Some of us may not be aware of the underlying problems if we fail to correct it.
Studies Linked Belly Fat to Multiple Health Conditions
Based on a study published at the Harvard Medical School journal, abdominal fat is more than just a storage depot of fats; it is waiting to be used for energy. Actually, these fat molecules are active and release substances such as leptin and adiponectin which in turn, affect the regulation of insulin (a blood glucose metabolizing hormone). They may interrupt the normal homeostasis of hormone regulation thus, leading to multiple health problems. Many obese people suffer from diabetes.
Immune system chemicals called cytokines are also released by abdominal fat molecules. It is primarily involved in tumor necrosis and other defense mechanisms. The release of these chemicals in excessive amounts may predispose you to cardiovascular diseases. Aside from a strong correlation between obesity and cardiovascular diseases, several other mechanisms like insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and clotting are also altered.
By virtue of its location, abdominal fat is placed close to the portal vein which connects the intestine to the liver. Excessive fat enters the vein and secretion of blood lipids occurs. This is harmful because it increases the ratio of LDL (bad cholesterol) to HDL (good cholesterol).
According to a study published in the Oxford Journal, you may also be at risk for developing breast cancer due to an increased central to peripheral body fat distribution. Belly fat is more evident in people having an apple-shaped figure.
So, are you ready to look your best this summer and for the rest of your lives? There are many ways to lose belly fat naturally. Here are some of the best exercises for burning belly fats:
- Running, brisk walking, jogging, and jumping jacks are some of the simplest and most effective cardio exercises to burn calories and speed up your metabolism. If you’re a beginner, start your routine by walking 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Gradually increase your way up to a more dynamic routine. Get about 30 minutes of cardio, four times per week. A 180-lb person running at 5 mph will burn approximately 543 calories in a 60-minute period.
- In addition to regular cardio exercise, abdominal crunches are useful in building abdominal muscles. Doing basic and reverse crunches are very effective in strengthening your lower and upper abdominal muscles. You can also do bicycle crunches to target both upper and lower abs at the same time. Aim to do three repetitions of 20 of each exercise.
- Stomach twisting is another effective exercise that targets the abdominal area. You should start with slow and rhythmic breathing. Twelve times on each side of the body can reduce an inch of belly fat in two or three weeks. Do three sets of exercises each day.
- Alternate leg lifts is another exercise to strengthen the core and tone it at the same time without stressing out the back muscles and the spine. Add Alternating leg lifts to your workout routine and coordinate the movement of the legs with slow breathing; it produces better results!
- Log roll stability ball exercise requires the use of a gym ball. This is performed in a prone position with the stability ball under your legs between your knees and feet hold a stiff push-up position. Twist the body from the torso while keeping your upper body from shifting too much. Twist as much as 90-degrees to the right and then to the left. Be sure to reposition the stability ball if it shifts out of place. The body will start to rely on the core muscles, to provide stability and stillness.
- Another effective exercise to tone up the abdomen is by maintaining a plank position for 30 seconds minimum and 60 seconds max. The abdominal muscles need to resist the gravitational pull from the ground. It is great for building endurance in the abs, back, and the stabilizer muscles.
Remember, losing belly fat is a process. You will need the right motivation, patience, and diligence towards workout. It is also very important to prevent any injuries so you can keep working out in the long run. Always start with a warm-up routine and proper stretching. Breathe properly. Gradually increase the repetitions in order to get stronger muscles. Get those beautiful abs you’ve always dreamed of by performing the right balance of abdominal exercise, strength training, consuming enough daily fiber, burning calories through cardio activity, and drinking more water.