By Lucy Gornall
The best exercises to lose belly fat can be done with little-to-no equipment, and from the comfort of your own home! Here, our former health and fitness editor and personal trainer Lucy Gornall shares the exercises you need to know about.
We wish losing belly fat was as simple as lacing up the best running shoes for women and tackling a couch to 5k. While this will do wonders for your overall health and mental wellbeing, there's more to it when it comes to weight loss.
Figuring out how to lose belly fat is all about finding the balance between a healthy and nutritious diet and exercises that will work your whole body and target your core.
While here at w&h we believe we as women are too hard on ourselves and wish we could all see past any supposed tummy bludge, there is evidence that too much belly fat could be negatively impacting our health.
Fat around the waist is visceral fat, which is the deeper fat often stored around important internal organs. The NHS states having high levels of visceral fat has been linked to an increased risk of some chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes.
So, if you're eating a diet high in saturated fat and are carrying a little extra weight around the tummy, it's important you reassess your routine to shift any excess fat and look after your health.
To help you on your belly fat loss journey, we've rounded up the best exercises to lose belly fat.
The best exercises to lose belly fat
1. HIIT Workouts
HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, is a great way to burn lots of calories in a short space of time. It gets your heart rate up fast and research has shown it could be effective in targeting belly fat, specifically.
The idea is that you'll do a combination of different exercises for 30 seconds each, followed by a 30-second break and you'll generally repeat this sequence around four to five times. It's tough but it's short and sweet, and over before you know it!
Whether you do HIIT as part of your at-home workouts or take a class at a studio, you're sure to work up a sweat and get endorphins flowing. So, as well as being one of the best exercises to lose belly fat, it's a great one for your mental wellbeing, too.
It might sound like a simple activity you often do without thinking, but walking for weight loss is legit and one of the best exercises to lose belly fat.
But, it's more than just searching 'how many miles is 10,000 steps?' and setting off on a stroll around your local park.
Taking your walks to the next level with Nordic walking, using the best walking poles or trying a walking workout will help you get your heart rate up, improve your cardiovascular health, tone and strengthen, and lose weight.
If you're short on time, you can do a walking workout from your living room. Just roll out a yoga mat and follow one of the many excellent walking workout videos on YouTube.
Posture is key when it comes to transforming your daily walk into a fat-burning workout. Remember to length your spine through your neck, tuck your tummy in to engage your core and take short yet quick strides.
For maximum calorie-burning add a few hills onto your outdoor route or after a treadmill session hop on the StairMaster at the gym for a toning workout and endurance test!
3. Strength training
When it comes to strength training for women, there's a huge misconception that lifting weights will make you bulky. In reality, this is totally not true and it's one of the best exercises for women to lose belly fat at home.
Weight training helps to shape the body. By building muscle it allows your body to then burn fat during rest instead of other important tissue. As we age, our muscle mass and bone density decrease so strength training is particularly important when it comes to fitness for women over 50. Strength training, whether that be doing one of the best resistance band workouts or a kettlebell workout, will help build and strengthen muscles, reduce the risk of injury and, encourage fat loss.
If you're using a fitness tracker, you might notice you don't burn as many calories while strength training as you do during HIIT workouts. This is because strength training increases your metabolism and helps you burn more calories in the hours after your workout, also known as the after-burn effect or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
If you combine these three exercises with a healthy diet, you'll soon be on your way to burning excess belly fat and feeling stronger than you did before!
Lucy Gornall is the former Health & Fitness editor at Future and a personal trainer specializing in pre and post-natal exercise.
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