Does Running on a Treadmill Help You Lose Belly Fat?

Moderate-intensity exercise like running on a treadmill helps reduce fat.
i Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Everyone has problem areas for fat -- certain spots where fat tends to accumulate. For many women this area is the belly. Unfortunately, there's no magic exercise that will reduce your belly fat specifically. But running on a treadmill, coupled with a proper diet, can help reduce your overall fat, including fat on your belly.

Spot Reduction

    Spot reduction is the attempt to reduce fat in a single problem area of the body -- like the belly. Spot reduction sounds like a nice idea, but unfortunately it's simply a myth. According to "Take Ten," a publication by the American College of Sports Medicine, there is no way to spot reduce. So running on a treadmill will not specifically reduce fat on your belly -- nor will any other exercises.

Reducing Belly Fat With Running

    While running on a treadmill won't help you spot reduce your belly fat, that doesn't mean it can't help get rid of your belly fat. According to Harvard Medical School's "Family Health Guide," 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity daily physical activity can help reduce your overall weight and decrease your belly fat as a result. This physical activity can take the form of running on a treadmill, but it's a good idea to mix up your workout routine. The "Family Health Guide" claims that weight training can also help reduce abdominal fat and spot exercises like situps can help tone the belly.


    Running on a treadmill isn't necessarily enough to reduce belly fat on its own. To lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than you burn, creating what is called a calorie deficit. Treadmill running can help create a calorie deficit, but it won't do you much good if you're still overeating. Creating a calorie deficit of 500 to 700 calories per day by running and reducing your calorie intake will result in a weekly weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds. Keep in mind that this weight will not necessarily come off of your belly exclusively.


    Consult a doctor before beginning a running program. A doctor can tell you whether the physical activity level is safe for you, especially if you are overweight or have other medical problems. When reducing calories women consume at least 1,200 calories per day, as consuming fewer than that can have an adverse effect on your metabolism. In some cases it may be appropriate to reduce calories below this threshold but only on a doctor's recommendation and and under her supervision.

the nest