Women on a mission to trim their waists should adopt a broad focus. Specifically, there is no exercise that burns fat from a single area -- burning fat all over your body is the key to a smaller waistline. A workout regimen designed to burn body fat overall will decrease the visceral fat that builds up deep in your midsection as well as the subcutaneous fat that sits just beneath your skin. As women age, visceral fat becomes more prevalent. Because this kind of fat not only expands waists but poses health risks as well, it is especially beneficial to burn waist fat.
Dangers of Waist Fat
That fat around your waist may be harming more than just your self-image. A large waist circumference -- 35 inches or more for women -- signifies dangerous levels of visceral fat, which accumulates between your intestines and other organs. Visceral fat produces inflammatory chemicals that are linked to chronic illnesses such as atherosclerosis, dementia and Type 2 diabetes. Although genetics play a role in waist circumference, exercising and eating a healthy diet can help you maintain healthy visceral fat levels. In addition to your workout, Harvard Medical School recommends avoiding high-fructose foods and trans fats, and getting plenty of calcium in your diet.
Cardio, in addition to a reduced-calorie diet, can help you burn fat quickly. For the most efficient cardo routine, do intervals. Walk quickly or jog for three minutes. Then break into a jog or a sprint for one minute. Repeat this cycle 10 times for a 40-minute workout five days a week. That extra push during your more-intense intervals will make you incinerate calories faster, as well as build up your cardiovascular endurance.
While no exercise will whittle fat just from your waistline, those that work your abdominal muscles can tone your midsection for a more defined appearance. Choose exercises that target the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis and oblique muscles, which make up your upper, middle and lower abdomen and sides of your torso. Do decline crunches for your lower abs, situps for your upper and middle abs, and oblique twists for your sides. Do these core exercises at least twice per week, but never two days in a row. Muscles need a day to recover in order to tone efficiently.
Stress can add to your visceral fat stores, so add relaxation techniques to your exercise plan. According to Harvard Medical School, even thin women with high stress levels are prone to excess visceral fat. Exercises like yoga or mindfulness walking, which involves paying close attention to your movements as you walk, can help calm your nerves. Other meditation techniques involve deep breathing and guided imagery. You may respond differently to different techniques based on the way you tend to handle stress.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.