The name "crunch" certainly doesn't sound pleasant, and anyone who performs this maneuver on a regular basis will tell you that it's an accurate name for the aching, strenuous ab exercise. But there's good news if you want a flat midsection -- crunches aren't necessary. While crunches can help tone your stomach, they won't spot reduce -- that is, reduce the fat specifically on your stomach. Worry less about crunches, and focus more on general exercise and eating healthy to shed pounds from your belly and your body as a whole.
Get at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking or riding a bike, per day. According to Harvard Medical School's Family Health Guide, this will help reduce abdominal fat as well as fat throughout your body.
Perform strength training on a regular basis. The Family Health Guide also states that this form of exercise can help reduce belly fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends working out all major muscle groups on two or more day per week. While you don't need to do crunches to lose belly fat, you should include abdominal toning exercises as part of your strength training routine.
Eat a healthy diet by choosing complex carbohydrates like vegetables and whole grains over simple carbohydrates like white bread, lean proteins over fatty proteins and polyunsaturated fats in place of trans and saturated fats.
Count your calories and create a daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day. This is the largest deficit you should be creating for safe weight loss. At this rate you can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week.
- According to the Harvard Medical School excess belly fat can put you at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases including some cancers.
- Always consult a physician before starting a new exercise regimen or diet.