Visceral fat in the abdomen is the most difficult and dangerous type of fat to lose. It is fat that lies between the abdominal organs and in a tissue called the omentum. Although visceral fat is only a small part of the body, it can cause a variety of health problems, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol and insulin resistance.
One of the reasons visceral fat is so hard to lose is that it is an “active fat” as opposed to other “sleeping” fats. Visceral fat releases hormones that can affect your overall health and your ability to lose weight in the waist and abdominal area. That’s why the food you eat and the type of exercise you do is so important. Many personal trainers recommend cardio, but what’s the best type of cardio to shed pounds?
To learn more, we spoke to Keith Hodges, NASM-certified personal trainer, performance coach, and founder of Mind In Muscle Coaching in Los Angeles about the best cardio you can do at the gym to keep weight off the midsection. He recommends run to lose fat. Discover more below!
Running is aerobic cardio that generally burns about 560 to 840 calories per hour, while cycling can only burn about 500 to 740 calories per hour. In a Duke University study, people who exercised the equivalent of jogging 11 miles per week did not gain visceral fat, but those who jogged 17 miles per week were able to reduce both visceral and subcutaneous fat. Therefore, running is an effective aerobic cardio to lose visceral fat.
And while it can be intimidating to get started, especially if you’re over 50, there are some tips and tricks for slowly transitioning from just walking to jogging every day.
A great way to start is to walk on a treadmill up an incline. This is Hodges’ top recommendation for a low-impact, steady cardio workout. “It’s a form of cardiovascular exercise that doesn’t put stress on your joints. You can do it for long periods of time because your heart rate doesn’t get too high and you can just about do it. [every day,]he explains.
He adds, “In terms of weight loss, running on the treadmill at a moderate pace means oxygen is available for your body to sustain the exercise consistently.” In other words, to burn fat, you need to do an aerobic cardio workout. The more oxygen your body uses, the more fat you can burn.
And once you’re ready to take the next step, you can start jogging. “Jogging,” says Hodges, “is an excellent way to burn excess calories faster than walking to aid in weight loss.” And you want to make sure you warm up and stretch your muscles properly. The shoes you choose to run in are also important.
To lose that stubborn belly fat, aim to jog or walk for 30 to 60 minutes, four to five times a week. And if you want to start aerobics, start with brisk walking on an incline, then move on to jogging and running. Aerobic exercise is especially effective at reducing visceral fat. It’s also important to combine your cardio with a healthy diet of veggies, lean protein, and healthy carbohydrates to shed even more visceral fat!