Having a toned abdominal region is considered very important by many people in today’s society. Every day, there are an endless number of advertisements urging us to “flatten our abs” or promising a secret method on how to “get a six pack”. What these ads fail to mention is that stomach fat is not only unattractive, it has also been proven to be extremely unhealthy.
Countless studies have proven that belly fat is connected to an array of health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Having a higher than normal Body Mass Index (BMI) and waste size are early indicators that excess belly fat may be a serious problem.
Here are some of the most effective methods for reducing unhealthy belly fat:
Many people overlook the fact that their own body is the best source of exercise. Even without going to a gym, you can actually burn fat and trim down while also having fun. Walking, gardening, bicycle riding, jogging, or even just climbing the stairs instead of using an elevator or all good examples of activities that can be done with just your body. Swimming is one of the best activities for losing belly fat, because you burn calories through exercise and also by the caloric expenditure necessary to maintain a healthy body temperature in cold water.
Cardio exercises are not only good for the heart, but they are also an effective means for firming and toning your abdominal region. While most people think that a long, slow cardio session is best to lose weight and burn calories, it has been proven that high intensity bursts of exercise are much more effective at both burning calories and building muscle. Try alternating one minute bursts of high intensity activity with three minutes of low intensity exercise. Do this for twenty minutes three times per week and you will tone your abdominal region quickly.
You can find a vast range of abdominal exercises to get a firm belly and reduce love handles. While there are plenty of very effective exercises, there are also ineffective or even dangerous exercises that can cause other problems in the lower back. The American Council on Exercise conducted a research on the various abdominal exercises that produce the best results. According to the study, vertical leg crunches, chair leg lifts, and captain’s chair leg lifts are the most effective abdominal exercises. Other effective exercises are twisting crunches and exercise ball crunches, yet they are not as effective as the three top exercises. Performing these routines at least three times every week will pave the way to great results in a short period of time.
Eating habits are probably the most important aspect to toning your abdominal region. No matter how much exercise you do, if you don’t eat right, reducing abdominal fat will be an uphill battle. The rule of the thumb is to stay away from sugar and simple carbs, specifically highly processed ones. These will provide you with a short bust of energy and then a crash due to the production of insulin by the body. Insulin prompts your body to begin storing excess sugar – eventually turning this sugar into fat for later use. These types of foods can make you immediately hungry and crave more sugar – a vicious cycle. Your food consumption should be comprised mainly of foods that are rich in protein, unsaturated fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Stay away from grains and sugars, such as bread, rice, pasta, and sweets.
Yoga provides a wide array of health benefits. If you are having difficulty losing stomach fat, the problem may go beyond the physical spectrum. High levels of stress can prevent the body from losing weight and can contribute to weight gain – specifically in the abdominal area. Physically, yoga can help in the firming and toning of the belly. Daily 20 minute meditation for 3 months has also proven to decrease levels of stress while also elevating mood.
As you can see, there are a variety of techniques to reducing fat in the abdominal area. You’ll find the greatest success if you use several of the techniques outlined above at the same time, for example, remembering to eat right while practicing yoga and abdominal exercises. Good luck!