Many women call their lower body a trouble spot and want to eliminate fat in the hips and stomach. This is an admirable goal: Carrying around excess weight, particularly in your belly, ups your risk of many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. A combination of cardio and strength training is the ideal way to drop this unwanted weight and get healthy. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
It's true you can't target your hips and stomach with cardio, but it does help you burn fat all over your body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of cardio weekly. This helps you burn calories and drop unwanted pounds. Choose activities that work your stomach and hips for maximum benefits. Dancing, biking and swimming are good options. Choose one that you enjoy, which increases the chance that you'll stick with your workout program until you reach your goal.
Body Weight Exercises
Body weight exercises are ideal for women because they don't require any equipment and you can do most of them anywhere, such as while you watch television or in your office on your lunch break. Many such exercises work your hips and stomach, helping tone and shape them. Lunges, inverted flyers, squats and stepping moves are good options. Include at least one set of 12 repetitions, two or three times weekly, with a day of rest between. Add sets as you gain strength.
A set of dumbbells or a barbell are great tools for increasing the benefits of hip and ab moves. Increasing your overall body weight by holding them as you exercise makes your muscles work harder, which may speed your progress. Choose a pound load that allows you to finish 12 repetitions with good form. The final two or three reps should be slightly difficult to finish. Hold dumbbells while you do squats and lunges, or hold a barbell and perform deadlifts or squats.
If you prefer a gym workout, several machines at most gyms allow you to work your hips and stomach at the same time. In addition to these moves, include those that work the rest of your body, which reduces the risk of muscle imbalances that could cause an injury. Do standing cable hip abductions, standing cable hip adductions, single leg cable rotations and lying hamstring curls.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- American Council on Exercise: Butt and Hip Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Ab Exercises
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.