When it comes to exercise and fat loss, intensity is your friend. The harder you huff and puff on the treadmill, the more calories you'll torch. Upping the incline adds resistance, while revving up the belt speed forces you to pick up the pace -- both of which increase your burning power. While working out doesn't remove fat deposits from your stomach or anywhere else, burning more calories than you eat results in overall fat loss, which will shrink your tummy proportionately.
On the treadmill, you have plenty of control over your calorie-burning action. At a walking pace of 3.5 mph, a 155-pound person burns just 149 calories in half an hour. That same person burns 186 calories in 30 minutes at a fast walk of 4.5 mph. Once you start running, the calories really start to melt -- at 6 mph, that 155-pound person blasts 372 calories in half an hour. Upping the incline also increases the burn; an uphill hike may shred an extra 75 calories or more per 30-minute session.
Although you engage your stomach muscles to some degree on the treadmill, using it won't score you six-pack abs. For serious stomach toning turn to resistance exercises, which define muscles but don't remove fat. Not only will moves like supermans, V-ups and planks help you build enviable abs, they'll also improve your treadmill performance by adding stability and endurance. Perform each exercise 12 times, rest and repeat for up to three sets.
Building a Routine
You may long to slim down stat, but jumping headlong into an intense treadmill routine is a recipe for pain and injury. Start by walking up a gentle slope, then gradually incorporate jogging intervals and higher grades. Once you can comfortably jog through your whole session, incorporate running intervals. To alleviate boredom and shred calories, alternate two minutes of running on a flat surface with two minutes of walking up as steep an incline as you can handle.
Visceral Stomach Fat
Excess belly fat is often a sign of visceral fat, which is unique to the abdominal region. This dangerous type of fat pads your internal organs and may contribute to type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and even breast and colorectal cancers. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches for women signifies visceral fat buildup. Diet and exercise help manage visceral fat, but there is also a stress connection. Stress causes the body to emit the hormone cortisol, which contributes to belly fat. Thus, it makes sense to add relaxation exercises such as meditation to your routine.
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.