Achieving a flat belly is a common fitness goal, but there’s more to it than crunches. A buildup of dangerous visceral fat around the abdomen can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart conditions and other health issues.
A healthy lifestyle can help you lose belly fat by eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. It’s important to do both aerobic activity like brisk walking and strength training (weight training).
When coupled with a healthy diet, regular aerobic exercise can help you lose belly fat. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, dancing and running, burn calories at a higher rate than many other types of workouts. A 170lb person can expect to burn 360 calories during a 30-minute run. Over the course of a year, this amounts to 56,160 calories burned.
Sit-ups and crunches can tone the abdominal muscles, but they can’t eliminate visceral fat. Instead, a combination of low-to-moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise and strength training will likely reduce overall body fat.
Although many people think cardio is all about high-intensity exercises, such as running or swimming, walking is also a good form of aerobic exercise that can help you burn calories and lose belly fat. Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day to improve your health and burn belly fat. Walking is one of the most cost-effective forms of exercise for weight loss. Moreover, it is easy for most people to do.
It’s impossible to target belly fat in a diet; to shrink your waistline, you must lose weight overall. Vigorous exercise and a healthy, calorie-controlled diet are key.
Dietary habits influence your body’s ratio of belly to visceral fat, which is stored in the lining of the abdominal cavity. While some visceral fat is necessary to cushion organs, too much can raise your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Some research suggests that eating a high-fiber, nutrient-dense diet may reduce the amount of visceral fat you store. A diet that includes lean protein, cruciferous vegetables and whole grains also helps.
You can reduce your belly fat by eating smaller meals throughout the day and avoiding sugary beverages and processed foods. Sleeping well and managing stress levels can also help. For example, people who regularly get less than six hours of sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that signals hunger, and they’re more likely to overeat the next day.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for your health, but it can be hard to lose belly fat when you have poor sleeping habits. Research shows that a consistent bedtime and morning routine is one of the best ways to improve your sleep quality.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body makes less of the hormone leptin, which suppresses appetite. At the same time, it produces more of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which drives you to eat more food. In addition, sleep deprivation may impair the effectiveness of calorie restriction in terms of weight loss and fat loss.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that a lack of sleep causes the body to deposit more fat, particularly in the belly. This fat, known as visceral fat, is linked to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. In the study, participants who restricted their sleep to just 5.5 hours per night for two weeks lost significantly less fat than those who got 8.5 hours of sleep per night. Even catching up on sleep over the weekend did not reverse this effect.
Prolonged stress can lead to a “stress belly” which isn’t good for your mental or physical health. It has been linked to a hormone called cortisol, which is released by your adrenal glands during a stressful situation as part of the body’s “fight or flight” response.
To lose stress belly fat, you must create a calorie deficit, exercise and get enough sleep. You should also eat a healthy diet which includes antioxidant-rich foods like berries, dark chocolate, leafy greens and fish. You should avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and trans-fats.
When it comes to exercise, cardio workouts like HIIT are great for getting rid of stress belly fat. They can help you reduce visceral fat by turning white fat into brown fat, which burns calories. It’s important to focus on exercises that are not too intense though, as high-intensity workouts can increase cortisol levels. Instead, opt for lower-intensity workouts such as walking or jogging.