Researchers Explain Why Cardio Is Not The Best Way to Lose Belly Fat (And What To Do Instead)

Researchers Explain Why Cardio Is Not The Best Way to Lose Belly Fat (And What To Do Instead)

lose belly fatHealth

They say losing weight is easy. But It seems like belly fat does not agree with the popular opinion. If you are like me, you most probably tried all the diet and exercise fads that came and quickly vanished.

Medical professionals and fitness experts claim that consistency is key to losing weight. However, it could be a problem when you reached a plateau on your exercise and diet regimen.

The abundance of diet and exercise fads in the age of social media is not helping either. Good thing is that many medical researchers have noticed the need to clear the confusion. Many are devoting time on proving the effectiveness of these fads, which people are picking up left and right.

High-intensity interval training and aerobic exercises are some of those workouts that trended on social media.

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In this article, we will learn about the ins and outs of a cardio workout, the advantages associated with this kind of exercise routine, and whether cardiovascular exercise is enough to burn your belly fat.

What Composes A Cardio Workout?

Cardiovascular exercises are routines that pushes your heart and respiratory rate to the limit. These workouts are characterized by the constant increasing and decreasing of the heart rate, as well as the constant expansion of lung capacity.

These kinds of exercises are best in burning unwanted body fat. Its ability to effectively help in weight loss stems from the fact that cardio workouts demand more oxygen compared to other exercises.

Science also has some data backing up cardio workout’s effectiveness in helping with weight loss. These are some of the most recent studies that linked cardio workout and loss of belly fat:

  • Donnelly and colleagues found in their 2013 study that aerobic exercises alone are enough to see significant weight loss in men and women. The conclusion came after one group of their participants underwent supervised exercise sessions. The study spanned 10 months before a conclusion was made.
  • A 2014 study revealed that exercise provides the best outcome for the health of obese and overweight individuals. Swift and colleagues concluded that despite being paired with caloric restriction, doing physical activity everyday significantly contributed to weight loss.
  • Another study revealed that aerobic and/or resistance training is an effective method to address body mass and fat mass in overweight and obese adults. The authors conclusion came after several adults were asked to participate in a STRRIDE aerobic and resistance training program.

What Exercises are Considered a Cardio Workout?

Diversity is the name of the game in cardiovascular exercises. Several workouts fall within this category. It’s a good thing for people who easily plateau on their workouts, and for those looking for more challenges as they advance to a higher level of workout.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a group of exercises that pushes the body to the limit. It is done in sprints with recovery intervals in between. This form of interval training has both high intensity and lower intensity intervals. Shorter high intensity intervals engage your anaerobic system for energy while longer high intensity engages the aerobic system for energy.

Aside from the fat burning benefits associated with HIIT, it is also great in improving cardiovascular health, resting blood pressure, and cholesterol levels among many others. However, to reap benefits of this workout, it is advised to consult a physician especially if you are just starting to be physically active and/or is suffering a serious health condition.

Literally translated as “with oxygen,” Aerobics is a type of cardio workout composed by aerobic training, strength training and stretching. It is usually composed of five parts, including a warm-up, cardiovascular conditioning, muscular strength and conditioning, cool-down and stretching and flexibility training. In this type of exercise, oxygen is used to burn body fat and glucose in order to produce the basic energy carrier for cells, the adenosine tri-phosphate.

Cardio workouts are also the solution for busy individuals wanting to shred off unwanted body fat. This kind of exercise will not take your excuse of not having enough time. There are various forms of cardio workouts and most can be done in just a couple of minutes. The following are some of the most recommended cardio workout for those always on the go:

  • Squats, mountain climbs, running on the spot or high knees are some of the cardio workouts for those who do not have the luxury of time. Some of these exercises can also be included in high intensity interval training (HIIT).
  • For those who have a few more minutes, about 30 to 40 minutes, low-level cyclical workouts are advised by fitness professionals. It includes cardio workouts like cycling, jogging and elliptical trainer. These set of exercises is great if you are trying to also improve your aerobic fitness and aiding recovery on top of losing body fat.

What are the Benefits of Doing Cardio Over Other Exercises

Aside from increasing the body’s work on removing fat from its system, cardio workouts also offer several advantages.

In terms of heart health, engaging in aerobic exercise was found to produce the following effects:

  • Stronger heart and blood vessels;
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • Improved oxygen flow throughout the body; and
  • Lower risk for cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Cardio workouts were also found to have good effects on the brain. Regular cardio workouts were found to produce the following impact:

  • Helps in the slowing decline in brain function caused by aging;
  • Increases blood flow;
  • Lower risks for stroke; and
  • Helps improve memory and thinking ability.

It is also beneficial to reproductive health. Cardio workouts contribute the following to your ability to pro-create:

  • Enhanced arousal for women; and
  • Lower chances of erectile dysfunction in men.

These lists are great proof that doing cardio exercises is not only the best solution to lose weight, but is also a great starting point for someone to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Is Doing Cardio Workouts Enough to Lose My Tummy?

Weight loss experts, as well as medical researchers, agree that exercise programs are not enough to unloaded unwanted body fat. As mentioned earlier, Swift and colleagues cited that exercise routines should be paired with caloric restriction to be more effective. However, their research also revealed that exercise plays a far more important contribution in reducing belly fat.

There are many confusions surrounding cardio workouts and their ability to burn body fat.

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First, caloric restriction is the key to losing weight. Your exercising everyday but still maintaining your unhealthy eating habits will lead you to nowhere. Many exercise equipment and physical fitness promoters usually claim that exercise is enough to achieve your desired body weight. However, the truth is proper diet is necessary in order to reap the benefits of cardio workouts.

cardio workout

Second, you should realize when your body has reached a plateau in doing cardio workouts. At this point, it is best to change your routine to achieve your goals. Fitness experts recommend that you challenge your body when this happens. As there is a wide variety of cardio exercises, it is best to level up and try more challenging and intense workouts compared to those you started with.

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