If you think your waistline is a little too thick, you're probably on the lookout for the quickest, easiest way to slim it down. Short of going under the knife, there is really no quick or easy way to do it. That's the bad news. The good news is that it isn't impossible. Consistent cardio exercise is the key, and cardio machines are an effective tool for burning calories and slimming your waist.
The Activity, Not the Machines
When you're standing in the cardio center at the gym wondering which machine will work the best to slim your waist, the answer is simple: none of them. That's to say one won't work better than another. It's not the machines themselves that will help get your metabolism going and cut inches off your waistline. Instead, it is aerobic activity that gets your heart rate up to start the process of slimming your waist. Aerobic training is the most effective exercise you can do to reduce the fat around your middle, so pick a machine -- any machine -- and get to work.
Whatever Suits You
All cardio machines may be created equal when it comes to effectiveness for getting your heart rate up, but the bottom line is that the one that works the best is the one you use. If your personal trainer instructs you only to use the treadmill, but you prefer biking, you're not going to look forward to your cardio workouts and may not put your all into them. You might even look for excuses to skip them altogether. Use the cardio machine you enjoy the most, or the one that is most comfortable. If you have knee problems, for example, you'll find that exercising on the stationary bike or the elliptical trainer won't aggravate your joints like running on the treadmill can.
Once you've picked a cardio machine to implement your slimming plan, you have to know how often to use it. MayoClinic.com advises following the Department of Health and Human Services recommendation of 75 to 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, depending on how vigorously you exercise. That can be broken up into several sessions throughout the week to fit your lifestyle and schedule. If three to five 30-minute sessions is what works for you, that's just as good as two or three 50-minute sessions.
The harder you work on your chosen machine, the more calories you'll burn. Consider performing high-intensity interval training if you want to burn a lot of calories and set your metabolism to continue to burn at an increased level even after your workout is finished. The kicker is that HIIT doesn't use up a lot of time and can be done on just about any cardio machine including treadmills, stair steppers, ellipticals and rowing machines. Just warm up for five minutes, then go all out, running, pedaling or rowing as fast as you can, for 60 seconds, then dial the intensity back a bit so you're going slower, but still at a fast tempo. After another 60 seconds, speed back up to your super-fast pace and continue to alternate 60 seconds at a time for eight to 10 sets. Be sure to cool down for another five minutes afterward.
- ShapeFit.com: HIIT Cardio Training For Maximum Fat Loss
- MayoClinic.com: Belly Fat in Women: Taking - and Keeping - it Off
- Medical News Today: Want to Lose Belly Fat? Aerobic Exercise Beats Weights
- Matt Siaperas; Personal Trainer, Hardbodies Gym, Blackfoot, Idaho
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.