Heart expert shares best exercise to shift belly fat

Stomach fat can be difficult to lose
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Stomach fat is a common problem for many people and can be a real struggle to lose.

According to the British Heart Foundation, studies have shown that those who carry excess fat around the belly area can face a higher risk of both heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But one cardiac expert has outlined the best type of exercise to help shift it, reports The Mirror.

Laura Cartwright, who is a hospital cardiac rehabilitation specialist and exercise physiologist and who also shared other weight loss tips, was writing for the British Heart Foundation. She said that scientific evidence shows that "it’s impossible to reduce fat in one specific area by exercising that body part alone".

She added: "The body stores fat as triglycerides which can be used for fuel anywhere in your body, not just in the exercised area. Doing aerobic exercise while eating a healthy diet is the best way to lose belly fat and overall body fat.

"This will help to create a calorie deficit - where you use more calories than you consume - which promotes fat loss over time. Aerobic exercise includes any activity that raises your heart rate such as walking, dancing, running or swimming.

"This can also include doing housework, gardening and playing with your children. Other types of exercise such as strength training, pilates and yoga can also help you lose belly fat."

And she added: "Seated exercise can be an effective way to burn calories and increase your aerobic fitness levels if you find walking or standing difficult." Laura, who works at Wrexham Maelor Hospital in Wales, said NHS guidelines suggest people aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.

Her advice is to aim to exercise at a level at which you become a little out of breath but can still speak in full sentences. "Take time to warm up before and to cool down after exercise," she said.

"If you begin to feel more breathless, slow down and rest. If you are new to exercise, start slowly and build up gradually.

"You don’t need to exercise at a high intensity to burn calories. Stress and lack of sleep can also affect fat loss because they can lead to increases in the stress hormone cortisol, affecting appetite.

"Stress-relieving and good sleep-promoting activities can include mindfulness, breathing techniques and gentle exercise like tai chi and yoga."