Running can burn visceral belly fat.
Running on a treadmill is one of the most effective ways to lose belly fat -- not only does the activity burn calories for overall fat loss, but it also directly affects the visceral fat that lies under your stomach muscles. However, optimal fat loss requires a multi-tiered approach of aerobic workouts, calorie reduction and weight training. Run or perform other vigorous cardio 75 to 150 minutes per week, and twice weekly you should lift weights or perform body-weight activities such as squats and situps.
Running and Belly Fat
Belly fat responds particularly well to running and other aerobic exercise. In fact, professor Kerry Stewart of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine claims that cardio may help reduce visceral fat even more than diet or other types of exercise, and that runners can expect to see a decrease in waist size with regular sessions. You'll get similar results with rowing, cycling and swimming.
After you've shrunk your waistline, running on the treadmill can keep the visceral fat away for good. In fact, exercise may keep deep belly fat from returning even if you gain some weight, according to research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Human Studies. Scientists placed participants on drastically reduced diets of 800 calories per day; some dieters exercised, and others did not. After the dieting phase, the exercisers were instructed to maintain their workouts for the following year. Those who followed these instructions did not regain any visceral fat, even though they put on weight. In contrast, those who never exercised, as well as those who failed to keep up their routines, had 33 percent more visceral fat at the year's end.
If you're new to exercise or have any health conditions, see your doctor before starting a running routine. Running is a high-impact exercise and can cause joint or muscle injury if you push too hard, too fast. In the beginning, stick with brisk walking; over the weeks, start including one-minute bursts of running and gradually increase the running-to-walking ratio. Make sure to use sturdy shoes made for running, and start and finish each run with a five-minute warmup of walking.
Losing More Belly Fat
Although running is a powerful tool for fighting belly fat, you'll get the best results with healthy eating and lifestyle choices. Eating whole grains, which are high in fiber, may help, since fiber helps you feel full after eating -- protecting you from hunger pangs that could make you break your diet. Whole options include whole-wheat bread and brown rice, while white bread and white rice are refined. High-stress levels and poor sleep habits may also increase visceral fat, so practice meditation or yoga, and aim for five to eight hours of sleep nightly.