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We hate to break it to you, but belly fat is one of the most difficult fats to get rid of. It may take weeks, sometimes even months of diet control and regular exercise to get a toned tummy. The good news is, you can get rid of it provided you know what you’re doing. Before we get to exercises that will help shred belly fat, let’s first understand belly fat and its layers.
Types of Belly Fat and the Dangers
Belly fat is fat within the abdomen area that occurs in two types; visceral and subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat sits right under your skin. Visceral fat, the more harmful one, surrounds the abdominal organs. Excess belly fat (emphasis on the excess) increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, asthma and stroke. On a positive note, belly fat gives your body energy, supports cell growth, protects organs, and helps absorb vital nutrients. So don't focus on cutting out all the fat, just the excess.
Kinesiologist Dain LaRoche, an associate dean at the University of New Hampshire, maintained that “it's less about having the fat, and more about consuming foods that have fat.” For him, eliminating all the fat from one’s diet could lead to a deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D and K) that are vital to decreasing inflammation, clotting blood and strengthening the bones.
You can bring a belly fat problem to yourself from your lifestyle choices such as too much alcohol intake, lack of exercise, poor sleeping habits, smoking and poor diet choices like consuming high carbs and low protein. It can also be caused by factors that are out of your control, like genetics. Regardless of how you gain belly fat, several exercises can help you lose it.
The Role of Exercise on Belly Fat
Exercise reduces stress that causes belly fat. Cortisol is a body hormone that controls metabolism and blood sugar. When this hormone is high for too long, it causes abdominal obesity. Studies have linked abdominal obesity with elevated cortisol levels. You balance your cortisol levels to attain only positive responses when you exercise.
Exercises also reduce insulin resistance. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone. When in high amounts, it causes belly fat because you keep getting hungry and storing body fat. Research noted that obese women with abdominal fat distribution are more resistant to insulin, which could lead to diabetes over time. Exercises regulate your insulin hormone accordingly. Exercises boost metabolism. Slow metabolism causes belly fat buildup due to inadequate digestion and absorption rates.
6 Exercises That Help Lose Belly Fat
1. Hollow body hold
(Image Source: Mens Health)
Lie down on the floor, extend your legs and place your arms at your side.
o Now raise your head, shoulder and legs off the floor by about 2-3 inches but keep your lower back on the floor and your arms extended.
o Stay in this position for 30 seconds, then lie back down.
This exercise targets your transverse and rectus abdominis. It trains your abdominal muscles by building a stable mid-section and shedding belly fat.
2. Dragon flag
(Image Source: Active)
o Lie on a bench or floor while face-up and your arms behind your head.
o Grab a column or pole to lift your hips, shifting your body weight to your shoulders.
o Drive your legs up until they are almost vertical.
o While at it, maintain a tight core and straight body without bending your hips.
o Lower your legs slowly to form a straight line from shoulder to hip to toe with your body weight on your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds.
o Release, then repeat.
This exercise works your abdominis and oblique. It is a pro workout that will get you ripped abs in no time.
3. L sit
(Image Source: Barbend)
o Sit on the floor with your hand on either side.
o With your arms and shoulders engaged, exert body weight on them by lifting your legs while keeping them straight.
o Your body and legs should form an L shape.
o Maintain the position for up to 30 seconds.
This exercise engages your entire abdominal area and is suitable for shedding visceral fat.
o Face down with only your forearms and toes on the floor to support your body.
o Keep your head relaxed and look down.
o Your torso and the rest of your body should be straight and rigid.
o Hold the position for 30 seconds, then release your body to the floor.
The exercise is for core muscle strength and helps burn calories.
5. V Ups
(Image Source: Women's Health)
o Lie on your back with your arms behind your head.
o Your feet should be together and your legs straight.
o Now lift them simultaneously with your upper body.
o Use your hands to reach your toes mid-air.
o Lower yourself back to the starting position.
This exercise is one of the most effective for reducing belly fat as it burns 100 calories per 10 minutes.
Belly fat is a nuisance to many people globally. With the above exercises and a planned healthy diet, you can achieve the flat-toned body you desire and gain a healthy body with minimal obesity health hazards. These exercises will require less than 20 minutes a day. So check your schedule and set aside a suitable time for it. While at it, maintain a healthy lifestyle to complement the exercises.
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