The word is in: exercise can help slim down your tummy. For optimal results, doing the right type of exercise is essential. If you've been doing side bends and abdominal twists without any results, don't give up. These exercises can be part of your routine, but you must include cardio and strength training to see results. This will help burn fat from your entire body including your waist. Meanwhile, the abdominal exercises will strengthen the muscles hidden under your belly fat and over time, a toned, slimmer tummy will emerge.
Bending sideways while holding dumbbells overhead or at your sides, and holding a dumbbell in front of your chest while twisting your torso to the left and right, targets your obliques at the sides of your waistline. To work the front of your waistline, do crunches on a stability ball or use a captain's chair apparatus to do knee raises. For optimal benefit, work your entire core, including your back and pelvic area, because in addition to strengthening your middle, it can prevent back pain and improve your posture, balance and stability.
Although you might not always enjoy huffing and puffing through a cardio routine, it helps you burn calories. Take 150 minutes out of each week to do cardio, as suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This can include jogging, swimming, riding a bike or exercising on a stair climber or elliptical machine. Bring a friend, because your exercise intensity should be just enough so you can still converse. Alternatively, don't bring a friend, cut your workout in half, and increase your intensity to the point where you can't converse anymore.
Strength training tones your body and increases muscle tissue. Muscle tissue boosts your metabolism, burning between 50 to 70 calories more per day. The CDC recommends working all major muscles including your shoulders, chest, back, legs, arms and hips, on two days of the week. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself -- use weight that's heavy enough so the last repetition of each set has you struggling to complete it. Use free weights, your body weight, machines or resistance bands to do strengthening exercises.
Understand that in addition to improving your appearance, trimming down excess fat from your waistline benefits your health. According to MayoClinic.com, it reduces your risk of premature death, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Watch what you eat because if you continue eating those morning doughnuts, fast-food meals and late-night desserts, your waist won't slim down no matter how much you exercise. Reduce portion sizes, and consume lean protein, plant-based foods, healthy fats and low-fat dairy. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise regimen, especially if you have a health condition or injury.
- Mercola.com: New Research Shows Abdominal Exercises Do Not Reduce Your Belly Fat
- Men's Health: Lose Your Love Handles
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- Centers of Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- MayoClinic.com: Belly Fat In Women: Taking — and Keeping — It Off
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.