You might have a little pooch you want to get rid of, or maybe you really need to lose a lot of belly fat. Regardless of whether you need to lose 10 pounds or 100 pounds, belly fat is bad for your health and difficult to lose. Losing weight, especially around your belly, is a process that requires a healthy, low-calorie diet and exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, there is some evidence that exercising in the late evening before bedtime stimulates your metabolism, so you burn more calories while sleeping.
Belly Fat Dangers
Belly fat is very bad for your health. The belly fat that you can't see, called visceral fat, is even worse than the fat you can pinch between your fingers. As women age, they tend to gain weight, especially around the hips and abdomen. Abdominal fat contributes to a number of conditions and diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, especially if you get little to no exercise. As little as 2 inches of belly fat can increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. That belly fat can also contribute to chronic and deadly diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, breast cancer and colon cancer.
Everything you eat contains calories. Your body is burning calories even when you are resting or sleeping. When you are sitting on the sofa or sleeping, your body still needs energy to keep functioning. Automatic functions, such as breathing, heart pumping, liver functions, the production of hormones and growing new cells, require energy. Energy is obtained by burning calories. You can't do a lot to stimulate your metabolism to burn more calories, but exercise is one way to temporarily boost your metabolism to burn calories and lose weight. The more you exercise, the more calories your body needs for energy. The fewer calories you consume, the more your body relies on energy stores, such as fat, for fuel. Reducing your caloric intake by as little as 500 calories each day, combined with exercise, can help you lose up to 1 pound every week.
Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to blast fat and boost your metabolism. A moderate-intensity aerobic workout for about 20 minutes about two hours before bedtime can boost your metabolism to burn more calories while you sleep. Some aerobic exercises you might want to try include jumping rope, jumping jacks and aerobic dance routines. Running up and down the stairs or riding a stationary bike at a fast pace are also good aerobic exercises. Any exercise that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat is aerobic exercise that burns calories and melts fat.
Get stronger and leaner as you burn fat with resistance training. Resistance training, or strength exercises, also elevate your metabolism and can keep it elevated and burning calories all night long. Alternate aerobic and resistance training about two hours before bedtime each night to burn fat before and after you go to sleep. Strength-training exercises cause your body to produce fat annihilating hormones, which complements your aerobic workout. Don't worry about waking up with bulging muscles; women don't build muscle the same way men do, but lean muscle requires more energy than fat. You don't need a home gym to get a great resistance workout before bed. Do some pushups, crunches, situps, planks and lunges.
- American College of Sports Medicine; Chronobiological Effects on Exercise;
- Harvard Health Publications: Taking Aim at Belly Fat
- MayoClinic.com: Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories
- Army Times: Body Shop: 10 Ways to Jump-Start Your Metabolism
- Shape Fit: Bodybuilding Questions: Cardio at Night Before Bed
- Nutrition and Metabolism: Resistance Training in Overweight Women on a Ketogenic Diet Conserved Lean Body Mass While Reducing Body Fat
- University of New Mexico: Hormonal Responses to Resistance Exercise Variables
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.