Having too much body fat can increase the risk of serious health problems, like cardiovascular disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and breast cancer, according to MayoClinic.com. Increased endurance, aerobic fitness and strength helps with body fat reduction. Engaging in regular aerobic and strength-training exercises along with a reduction in your caloric intake will help you burn fat.
Develop a healthy eating plan. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends consuming more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk products. In addition, include lean meats, poultry and fish while avoiding foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars.
Reduce your caloric intake. To reduce body fat you need to create a calorie deficit, which means you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. This action will force your body to pull from its fat storage cells for energy and you will lose body fat. A pound of body fat equates to approximately 3,500 calories. So if your goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you'll need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
Engage in regular aerobic exercise. To reduce body fat and increase your endurance you should engage in moderate-intensity prolonged aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. You will lose fat faster with aerobics because after a short period of time your body starts burning fat for energy. Aerobic exercises, like brisk walking, running, jogging and biking, are particularly helpful in fat reduction and increased endurance.
Participate in regular strength training. Strength training is essential to reducing body fat. Engaging in regular strength-training exercises increases your muscle endurance, which allows you to perform physical activity longer. It also builds lean muscle mass, which burns more calories and causes a reduction in body fat. Aim for two or more sessions of strength training each week, working all the major muscle groups.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Healthy Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- MayoClinic.com: Belly Fat in Women: Taking and Keeping It Off
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss
Donna Ricketts is a public health educator based in Oakland. She holds a master’s degree in public health from San Francisco State University, as well as a bachelor's degree in exercise, nutrition and wellness from California State University, East Bay.