Sorry: You can't choose where you lose fat. Abdominal workouts strengthen your muscles but won't melt away the fat that lies over them. Burn belly fat the same way you burn all excess fat: by doing cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
"Not necessarily," says Paul Killian, a strength and conditioning specialist certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). "If you're doing a routine that is appropriate for you, then using free weights is just as safe. Don't limit yourself to machines." Machines must be adjusted correctly for your height and weight to be safe, also. Without a professional to help with the right settings, you put yourself at risk for injury.
You've seen them -- those power walkers swinging dumbbells while racking up the miles. While you do burn slightly more calories this way, you also increase your risk of injury, especially to your elbows or shoulders. A safer way to pump up your calorie burn is to increase your workout intensity (for example, jog instead of walk) or add interval training to your cardio workouts.
Yoga and stretching both benefit your body, but they can't permanently lengthen your muscles. The only way to look leaner is to lose body fat through diet and exercise.
True fitness is more than a number on the scale or a jeans size. You can be quite slender but still fail to have a healthy cardiovascular system and strong and flexible muscles.
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