Getting rid of your belly fat can present itself as somewhat of a challenge, especially if you’ve have had it for years. Besides being aesthetically unpleasant to the eye, belly fat can also pose serious health risks. This is because belly fat is not just made up of the extra layer of padding located just below the skin known as subcutaneous fat, but also due to the visceral fat that can be found deep inside the abdomen. It’s been said that regardless of your overall weight, having too much belly fat increases the risk of certain health conditions including, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, colorectal cancer and high blood pressure.
Factors That Lead to Belly Fat
Before we delve into the various exercises that can shed your belly fat, let’s look at some of the factors that can lead to belly fat.
Age and Genetics
Although your weight is highly dependent on how many calories you consume as well as your activity level, your age also plays a large role in contributing to belly fat. Age-related muscle loss can lead to belly fat, this is especially exacerbated when you are leading a sedentary lifestyle. Muscle loss can decrease the rate of the body’s ability to burn calories, which make it increasingly challenging to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
The excessive consumption of alcohol has been shown to increase belly fat. Research has shown that wine is one exception to this. However, it is still important to practice moderation when it comes to consuming alcohol. It is advised that men who are aged 65 or younger can drink up to two drinks a day, while men older than 65 years old should limit their drink to one a day. If you are trying to lose weight, you should consume less alcohol, adopt a well-balanced diet and lead an active lifestyle.
Exercises That Reduce Belly Fat
Burpee is an underrated exercise that not only helps to shed belly fat but it also activates and works as many muscle groups as possible. Basically, the movement requires you to start from a pushup position and transition to a jump before returning back to the pushup position. Hence, this works every muscle from head to toe. Studies have shown that 10 fast-paced repetitions are just as effective to burn belly fat and increasing metabolism as a 30-second all-out sprint.
I’m sure most of you know what a plank is. The mountain climber is similar to a plank, the only difference is, instead of staying motionless, you will need to keep moving. More specifically, the mountain climber requires you to one draw one knee into your chest, interchanging as fast as possible to the next while keeping your back straight as possible. This exercise works your core as you will need to keep your body stable and straight each time you lift a foot off of the floor. You can adapt this exercise in an interval-style exercise regime that will increase your heart rate and burn a significant amount of calories. It is best to complete as many repetitions as possible for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds before repeating the workout again for 4 seconds.
The kettlebell swing is known to be one of the best exercises that burns fat and calories. Much like the mountain climber, the kettlebell swing engages various muscle groups including the hips, glutes and quads. The fast and explosive movement of this exercise increases the heart rate and works your core as well. The momentum of the bell at the top of the swing will pull you forward, causing you to clench your abs as if you as if you are doing a standing plank. It is important that you bend at your hips before executing this exercise.
Medicine Ball Slam
Since the core is the centre of power, executing fast movements such as the med-ball slam engages all the muscles between the neck and the hips. Increasing the pace and propelling the ball with more power and velocity will allow you to get more out of your workout, it will elevate your heart rate and burn belly fat. Additionally, you don’t necessarily need to increase the weight of the medicine ball to see better results, in fact, just working with a 3-kilo medicine ball is just as good.
Dumbell Overhead Lunge
The next time you do lunges, consider adding a dumbbell into your workout. As the weight shifts with every repetition, it activates all the muscles in the torso. Apart from that, the exercise engages the butt and the back as well, as hunched shoulders and weak glutes have been shown to lead to a fat belly.
Exercising can only go so far as to help you lose belly fat. It is important that you incorporate a well-balanced diet along with an active lifestyle stay fit, trim and healthy. At the same time, ensure that you are consuming more whole foods and limiting the consumption of foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.