Running may be a high-impact activity, but it also blasts through plenty of calories. As long as your joints can handle it, running is a good addition to an exercise plan when you are trying to lose weight. Because running burns fat from all over the body, if your stomach fat has gotten out of control, running might be just what you need to melt it away.
Spot Reducing Myth
Spot reducing is the idea that you can lose weight in one area by continually doing a particular exercise. In the case of the stomach, this would mean doing numerous sets of crunches or situps every day. Although this might tighten and tone the abs, it will not get rid of the fat and create a flat stomach. Like all aerobic exercise, running promotes weight loss throughout the body and is a good option for flattening the stomach.
Amount of Running
The time invested in a running program makes or breaks its ability to promote a flat stomach. If you only run once in a while, you will not take advantage of the caloric expenditure and your stomach will stay fat. To effectively lose weight, the Department of Health recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise such as running each week. You can see quicker weight loss if you double this time, but don't overdo it when starting out. To fit in your runs, split the time up into several short sessions throughout the week.
Effect on Muscles
Running is not a form of weight training, but it activates multiple muscles in the lower body such as the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and hip flexors. If you were to gain even a slight amount of muscle, your resting metabolic rate will increase. This causes you to burn more calories throughout the day and to obtain a flat stomach sooner.
Sprinting and Abs
The pace at which you run plays a role in achieving a flat stomach. Running at a consistent, moderate pace is adequate, but performing sprints can have a greater effect. When you alternate between sprints and rests, you burn more calories during your workouts and your metabolism remains high for several hours afterward. When you push hard during a sprint, you also have to forcefully contract your abs to generate power.
Any time weight loss is a goal, caloric intake needs to be taken into account. A reliable way to melt stomach fat is to reduce your daily intake while exercising. By trimming 500 to 1,000 calories each day you can lose about 1 to 2 lbs. of weight each week. This calorie trimming can come from eating a bit less each day and from burning calories with exercise such as running. The more consistent you are with reducing your intake and increasing your activity, the faster you'll achieve a flatter belly.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.