Belly fat is not only unsightly, its downright dangerous to your health. According to MayoClinic.com, women who have a layer of belly fat are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain types of cancers. Belly fat differs from other fatty areas of the body because it's made of of superficial subcutaneous and visceral fat -- fat that lies in between the internal organs. In order to rid yourself of problematic belly fat, you'll need to burn calories with cardiovascular exercise and strengthen the underlying muscle with strength training.
Perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity every week. Choose activities that provide a full-body workout, so you ensure that you target the abs in every workout. For example, swimming, tennis, power yoga and elliptical training all provide a full-body workout.
Add two days of strength training to your weekly workout schedule. Leave one to two days in between training sessions to promote muscle regrowth and recovery. During your strength training sessions, perform abdominal exercises that build muscles and core strength, such as the plank pose, stability ball crunches and mountain climbers.
Warm up and stretch the body before every workout. Finish each exercise session with a cool down and final stretches. To warm up or cool down, walk or jog in place for five minutes.
Position yourself on all fours on the floor or a yoga mat.
Press your palms into the floor firmly and step back with each foot until both of your legs are fully extended.
Balance on your toes and palms in a high pushup position.
Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button in toward your spine.
Hold plank pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Work your way up to three rounds.
Stability Ball Crunches
Sit on the edge of a stability ball, with your feet flat on the floor.
Cross your arms over your chest.
Lean back and rest your spine on the stability ball. Keep your spine straight so your upper back, shoulders and neck are suspended in the air.
Contract your abdominal muscles and use your core strength to pull your torso back up to a seated position.
Perform 12 to 15 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.
Position yourself on all fours.
Step back with both feet until you are in a high pushup position.
Bend your right knee and bring the knee in toward your chest.
Extend your right leg back to a high pushup positon and quickly switch legs, bending your left knee in toward your chest.
Bend one knee and then the other into the chest as if you were rapidly climbing up a mountain. Keep your core muscles engaged throughout the entire exercise.
Perform the exercise for 30-second to one-minute bursts and then take a break. Work your way up to 10 rounds of mountain climbers.
- According to the American Council on Exercise, the concept of spot reduction is a myth. There isn't a way to reduce the amount of fat on one part of your body. Instead, regular cardiovascular exercise will burn the calories necessary to shave fat from your entire body, including your belly.
- Speak to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Nicole Carlin is a registered yoga teacher. Her writing has been published in yoga and dance teacher training manuals for POP Fizz Academy. Carlin received a Masters of Arts in gender studies from Birkbeck University in London and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Temple University, Philadelphia.