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Slimming down your midsection requires a combination of diet, exercise and discipline. While losing weight in one area via diet and targeted exercise, also known as spot training, is not possible, overall total weight loss and toning exercises will assist in reducing your stomach bulge. A combination of strength and cardiovascular training, combined with a calorie-reduced diet, will lead you on the path to a slim and sexy stomach.
Counting Your Steps
Adding to your daily step count may accelerate your body's fat-burning capabilities. MayoClinic.com suggests taking 10,000 steps daily, the rough equivalent of five miles, over the course of a day to maintain optimum health. These 10,000 steps can be spread out in small intervals throughout the day. Finding new ways to add steps to your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or taking a walk at lunch, can assist you with your daily step count. Purchase a pedometer and monitor your average daily step count for one week, then gradually add 500 daily steps per week until you have reached your goal of 10,000 steps.
Interval Walking Schedule
How you walk is almost as important as how much you walk, MayoClinic.com suggests. Walking in intervals of increased intensity can rev up your cardiovascular health and assist in burning off that belly bulge. Start by walking for three minutes at an easy pace, exerting only 30 to 35 percent of your total effort. After three minutes, increase the intensity of your walk for an additional three minutes. At this level of intensity, you should still be able to talk, but with short pauses. Increase your level of intensity again for an additional two minutes. At this intensity, talking will still be possible, but only in one- to two-word bursts. After two minutes, increase to an intensity that is short of jogging speed and difficult or impossible to talk. Reverse these steps down to your easiest intensity. Repeat this workout three times per week.
A study published in the May 2001 issue of "Ace Fitness Matters" outlines the most and least effective ab exercises. The bicycle maneuver ranked at the top of the list for its ability to work both the rectus abdominus and oblique muscles. The bicycle maneuver may be performed by lying on an exercise mat with your lower back pressed into the floor. Place your hands beside your head and elevate your knees by 45 degrees. Slowly perform a bicycle pedal motion with your knees while rotating your upper torso in tandem with your legs. Touch your right elbow to your left knee and your left elbow to your right knee during this motion. Repeat this motion for three sets of 10 to 25 repetitions per set.
Foods That Fight Belly Fat
Though a reduced-calorie diet will assist you in your weight-loss efforts, research suggests that some foods may play a larger role than others in the removal of abdominal fat. A study published in the January 2008 issue of "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" investigated the effect of whole grains on diet and weight loss. After a 12-week period, participants who replaced refined-grain products with whole grains lost an average of 8 to 11 pounds and reported a significant reduction in abdominal fat. Another study, published in the July 2007 issue of the journal "Diabetes Care," investigated the role of monounsaturated fatty acid-rich foods in our bodies. These foods, referred to as MUFAs, are naturally rich in a type of fat that is more easily accessible than fats found in processed foods and include almonds, black olives, avocados and dark chocolate. In this study, participants who consumed MUFA-rich foods as part of a calorie-controlled diet lost more abdominal fat than the control group.