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- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to do About It
- Harvard Health Publications: Calorie Counting Made Easy
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Belly Fat Reducing Exercises
Numerous factors can cause an increase in the amount of fat around your midsection; including heredity, hormonal changes and weight gain that occurs as a normal part of aging. This can cause the accumulation of visceral fat, which can increase your risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. While you cannot specifically target belly fat with abdominal exercises, you can tighten and firm up your abdominal muscles, which in turn helps to flatten your stomach. The best way to reduce the amount of fat you carry relies on reducing your caloric intake, eating an overall healthier diet and staying active.
A great workout for beginners, the lunge twist focuses on your core muscles, targeting your abs, obliques and butt. Stand with your elbows at your hips, bent at a 90-degree angle with hands in front of you. Bend your knees slightly, spreading your feet hip-width apart. Lunge forward with your right leg, dropping your left leg and twisting your torso to the right. Keep your elbows at your side. Rotate your torso back to center while you push off with your right foot to return to your starting position. Repeat with your left foot. Perform 16 repetitions, switching sides.
Another workout for beginners, the step hop works your abs, butt and legs. Stand with your hands on your hips, feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Step forward with your right foot, lifting your left knee level to your hip. Hop straight up on your right foot and land with your feet together. Switch sides. Perform 16 repetitions, alternating sides.
For intermediate exercise, the lunge reach works your abs, butt and quads. Stand with your arms at your sides, feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Lunge forward with your right leg and bend both knees to a 90 degree angle. Keep your arms straight and reach toward the floor. Push off with your right leg to return to the starting position, lifting your arms straight above your head. Do eight repetitions on each side.
Another intermediate routine, the hands-up hop focuses on your abs, butt and legs. Put your hands on your hips and spread your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly. Step forward with your right foot as you lift your left knee level with your hip and hop straight up on your right leg. Raise your arms above your head as you hop. Bring your feet together when you land and place your hands on your hips. Perform 20 repetitions, switching sides.
For advanced exercisers, the jump lunge works your abs, butt and legs. Spread your feet hip width apart, arms straight overhead and knees bent slightly. Lunge forward with your right foot, bending both knees to a 90-degree angle. Jump straight up and alternate legs in midair, landing with your left foot in front and both knees bent. Perform 12 repetitions as you switch sides.
The advanced routine of the squat jump focuses on the abs, butt and legs. Stand with your hands at your sides, with your feet spread shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Move into a squat, keeping your knees behind your toes. Jump straight up as you lift your arms straight overhead. Remain in a squat as you land, keeping your arms raised. Lower your arms and repeat 12 times.
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