Getting a trim, toned body isn’t easy, but it comes with plenty of health benefits. If you work to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and cut excess fat from your midsection, you’ll enjoy reduced risks for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious conditions. An effective way to reduce extra belly fat and become fitter overall is to combine moderate-intensity exercise with targeted core routines.
Pelvic Tilts and Lifts
Start with subtle, simple moves, such as pelvic tilts and pelvic lifts. The Mayo Clinic notes that when these exercises are combined with aerobic exercise and strength training, pelvic tilts and lifts are effective in reducing excess belly fat–especially for women.
For a pelvic lift, lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Put your arms at your sides, with your hands by your waist, palms pointing down. Firm your stomach and ab muscles while you lift your midsection off the floor. Support your midsection by applying pressure to your feet and arms and pulling your core muscles in. Pull up until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Relax, then return to the starting position. Do as many repetitions as you can.
A pelvic tilt is a subtler move that targets the low abs. Begin in the same position as for a pelvic lift. Instead of arching up, tighten your core muscles, and arch down slightly, trying to flatten your back completely against the floor. Tilt your pelvis up slightly, but don’t round your body. Hold the move for a few seconds, and return to the starting position. Do as many repetitions as you can.
Work on crunches and other moves that target the core to help flatten your stomach and trim weight around your midsection. CNN recommends the crunch as a classic exercise that works several core muscles at once. To do a crunch, lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows out, and secure your arms behind your head near the nape of the neck, or cross your arms tightly over your chest. Using strength from your core muscles, pull your torso up several inches. Pause, and return to start. Keep your eyes on the ceiling to avoid straining your neck, and repeat the move as many times as you can.
Build a strong exercise routine by combining your firming moves with aerobics. The Mayo Clinic stresses that toning exercises alone will not cut belly fat in most cases; instead, Mayo recommends combining these exercises with moderate to intense aerobic activity, such as jogging. Aim for at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise per week, or about 30 minutes a day for five days each week. Jogging or alternating jogging with brisk walking for a few miles at a time offers cardiovascular benefits and will complement your toning exercises.
About this Author
Carly Schuna is a Wisconsin-based professional writer, editor and copy editor/proofreader. She has worked with hundreds of pieces of fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature, feature stories, and corporate content. Her expertise on food, cooking, nutrition and fitness information comes from years of in-depth study on those and other health topics.