5 best exercises to burn belly fat

Excess belly fat can cause many health problems. In fact, a 2020 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that excess abdominal fat is associated with a higher risk of premature death. It found that every 10 centimeter increase in abdominal fat in women increased the risk of death by 8 percent. Many think that crunches or sit-ups can help people get toned abs, but they might be wrong. So switch to more effective exercises to burn belly fat.

Why is it important to burn belly fat?

Here are some reasons why you should lose belly fat:

1. Reduced risk of health problems

Excess belly fat, especially visceral fat (fat stored deep in the abdominal cavity), is associated with a higher risk of several health problems, says Harsh Gahlot, a Faridabad-based fitness coach. These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.

Lose belly fat to stay healthy. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Improved lung function

Belly fat can compress the diaphragm and limit lung expansion, which can lead to breathing difficulties. Losing weight around the abdomen can improve lung function and make breathing easier, the expert tells Health Shots.

3. Improved mobility

Carrying excess weight around the abdomen can limit your mobility and make daily activities more challenging. So get rid of that belly fat!

4. Improved self-esteem

Achieving a healthier body composition can increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Feeling better about your appearance and physical abilities can have positive effects on your mental well-being.

Do sit-ups strengthen your stomach?

Sit-ups are often preferred by people who want to lose belly fat or strengthen their abdominal muscles, as this is a popular exercise that specifically targets the muscles in the abdominal area. However, it’s essential to understand that sit-ups alone aren’t the most effective exercises for burning belly fat, says Gahlot. Here’s why sit-ups are a common choice for reducing belly fat:

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1. Muscle strengthening

Sit-ups primarily train the rectus abdominis muscle, the muscle responsible for the “six-pack” appearance. They can help strengthen and strengthen these muscles, making them more prominent.

2. Calorie Burn

Sit-ups, like other resistance exercises, burn calories. But the calorie expenditure during sit-ups is relatively low compared to cardiovascular exercises such as running or cycling. To lose belly fat, you need to create a calorie deficit, which is best achieved through a combination of diet and cardio exercise.

The best exercises to burn belly fat

There are effective exercises to help you lose belly fat without having to rely on sit-ups. These exercises focus on full-body movements and core engagement, helping you burn calories and strengthen your abs, the expert tells us.

1. Shelf

• Start by getting into a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from head to toe.
• Tighten your core muscles and hold this position, keeping your back flat and avoiding sagging or arching.
• Try to hold the plank for as long as possible and gradually increase your time as you build strength.

The plank is an isometric exercise that engages your core muscles and helps strengthen and strengthen your abdominal muscles.

belly fat woman
Mountain climbers is one of the exercises to lose belly fat. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Mountain climbers

• Start in a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders and your body straight.
• Alternately bring your knees to your chest, as if you were running in place while in the push-up position.
• Make sure to keep your core tight while maintaining a steady pace.

Mountain climbers are a dynamic exercise that increases your heart rate, burns calories and works your core muscles.

3. Bicycle crunches

• Lie flat on your back with your hands behind your head, elbows pointing outward.
• Lift your feet, head and shoulders off the ground.
• As you bring your right elbow toward your left knee, extend your right leg.
• Then bring your left elbow toward your right knee as you straighten your left leg.
• As you continue this pedaling motion, engage your core.

Bicycle crunches target the obliques and rectus abdominis and help strengthen your waist.

4. Leg goes up

• Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs straight.
• Keep your legs straight and lift them until they are perpendicular to the ground.
• Slowly bring your legs back down without letting them touch the floor.
• Engage your core so you can maintain control throughout the movement.

Leg raises work the lower abdominal muscles and help strengthen the lower part of your core.

5. Russian twists

• Sit on the floor with your feet flat and your knees bent.
• Lean back slightly while keeping your back straight and lifting your feet off the floor. As you do this, balance on your sit bones.
• Clasp your hands together just in front of your chest or hold a medicine ball or weight.
• Turn your torso to the right, bringing your hands next to your right hip.
• Return to center and turn to the left.
• Continue switching sides.

Russian twists are good for working the oblique muscles and improving core stability.

Losing belly fat also depends on a healthy diet and overall calorie balance. You can incorporate these exercises into a well-rounded fitness routine and combine them with a balanced diet to achieve your goals. Also, stay consistent and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts for the best results.

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