Exercise is an ideal addition to a fat-burning routine. Combined with a low-calorie meal plan, adding exercise to your day helps create the calorie deficit necessary to drop unwanted belly fat. Cardio exercise burns calories and helps you lose weight, which is ideal for women because too much flab around your midsection increases the risk of many health problems, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. It's important to note that you can't target your belly with cardio, but it will help you lose weight all over your body, including from your belly.
Any activity that elevates your heart rate counts as cardio. Walking, jogging, running, biking, dancing, swimming, basketball, tennis and soccer are healthy choices for women looking to lose stomach fat. The trick is to stick with your choices on a regular basis and for at least 10 minutes at a time. An occasional stroll around the block isn't going to do much for you. If you have a long to-do list, though, vigorous housework, such as vacuuming and scrubbing, works too, provided you still meet the weekly exercise recommendations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that healthy women get at least 150 minutes of cardio each week. If you're looking to burn off some stubborn belly fat, though, increasing your time to 300 minutes per week gives you quicker results. Spread your cardio throughout the week to keep your metabolism going. This also makes it easier to fit in a workout because you only have to carve out an hour at a time rather than a huge chunk. Mix and match your favorite types of cardio for a well-rounded workout routine that will have you in a bikini in no time.
Interval training involves alternating between bouts of moderate-intensity exercise and short bursts of vigorous exercise. Not only does this type of exercise burn more calories than a traditional workout, but you can shorten your overall exercise time too. If running is your cardio of choice, run at a moderate speed for three minutes, then pump it up as fast as you can go for one minute. Go back and forth for 45 to 60 minutes. At a moderate pace, you'll be winded, but can carry on a conversation with a fellow runner. Interval training works for many types of cardio, including biking, swimming, walking and dancing.
Despite the fat-loss benefits of a healthy cardio routine, you can undo all of your hard work if you hit the nearest drive through when you're done. In fact, you could even wind up eating more calories than you just burned. This slows your progress, isn't good for your health and is only going to leave you frustrated. Instead, fill your plate with a variety of foods from each food group. Not only is this eating style low calorie, but it gives you the nutrients you need to power through whatever form of cardio you choose.
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.