Running is a great exercise to burn belly fat and all-over toning but it is not right for everyone.
If you suffer from arthritis or osteoporosis or you have a family history of brittle bones, it is definitely not suitable for you.
The constant pounding of your feet, knees and hips onto a hard surface will cause your bones and joints to deteriorate faster than they would otherwise and could lead to health complications.
While a treadmill gives you a softer landing, it’s still better to find another type of exercise if you know it could cause problems.
It’s also not always convenient to run, even if it sounds like the right kind of exercise for you.
So what can you do instead?
The problem is that running is a good all-over body workout!
It definitely tones and it gives you definition, especially around your legs and middle area, because of the twisting motion and the aerobic effect.
If you’ve got excess weight around your middle and you have no idea what other types of exercise you can do, safely and that will deliver similar results, we have a few great suggestions below:
1. An Ab Workout
Your belly and your abs are all easy areas to tone up but a lot of it is down to you being disciplined and factoring in the right type of exercise enough times a week to see a difference.
For the best results, you do need “some” cardio.
This could be as simple as a good, long power walk three times a week for at least 20 minutes (you need a cardio workout to last a minimum of 20 minutes to get your heart rate up).
Then, once you’ve done your cardio, try a short but powerful abdomen workout as follows:
• 20 x tummy crunches.
• 20 x tummy twists (crunches with a twist either side)
• 10 x full sit-ups (legs along the floor, lift your upper body up to a seated position)
• 20 x toe touches (lie on the floor with your legs in the air and lift your upper body up as far as you can, try and touch your toes with your hands.
Repeat the above three times and repeat the session three times a week for best results. Calories burned, 5 per minute.
If you can’t run and the thought of the gym fills you with dread, what about swimming?
It is a super all-over body workout and definitely trims down the waist area especially if you use the front-crawl stroke.
This is because your body twists from side to side, giving your waist the workout you want and slimming down any extra fat.
You need a minimum of two swimming sessions a week of around 20-30 minutes each to see results.
Calories burned: 150 calories per 30 minutes.
This Yoga and Pilates move is excellent for improving core strength.
A full plank requires you to rise up to a press up on your hands and stay in that position (without lifting your hips too much).
Start gently, stay in position for a minimum of 20 seconds and draw your belly towards your spine to work your tummy area.
Gradually increase the time that you plank until you can do 1 minute or more.
Do give either side of your body a side-plank as well.
This involves lying on your side and raising up off the floor, so your ankles and one hand takes the weight.
Stay like that for at least 20 seconds (gradually increase the time as you get used to the position), then switch to the other side.
A side-plank is excellent for slimming down the sides of your waist.
Calories burned: 3 per minute.
Sometimes referred to as mountain climbers, burpees are tough but effective.
They do require lots of power.
Start on all the floor in a press-up position and move each leg up to a start-up run position.
Switch legs so you’re almost walking it out.
As you get stronger, you’ll be able to jump your burpees, using both legs but always remaining in a press-up position.
It is tough so start slowly and build up your strength.
Calories burned: 10 per minute.
5. Squats and Sumo Squats
Squats are good for your tummy, glutes and upper legs.
Start in a standing position with your toes turned ahead of you and legs hip-width apart.
Then, slowly stick your bottom out as if you were going to sit down, lower your bottom slowly as if sitting into a chair and hold in that exact position for a few seconds, then rise up again slowly.
Repeat these squats 12 times.
Next, return back to a standing position and turn your toes outwards, widen your legs slightly.
This is for sumo squats!
Repeat the sitting down motion as before for 12 repetitions.
Repeat both sets of squats 3 times each.
To make it slightly harder, hold the last squat for 10 seconds.
6. Bicycle Legs
This really burns when done properly!
Lie down on the floor and place your hands behind your head.
Then, raise your legs just a few inches off the floor; you should feel it in your belly.
If you’re not feeling the position, you’ve probably got your legs positioned too high.
Then, raise your upper body and twist over one side to meet a bended knee, switch sides as you move your legs in a bicycle motion.
Each elbow should meet the opposite knee with a twisting motion.
Repeat each side x 15.
Calories burned per 5 minutes: 15.
That old skipping rope your daughter has or even the one you used to take to school every day will really come in useful here!
Kids love to skip but it’s harder for adults!
However, once you get the hang of it, it’s really enjoyable and a great workout.
You can do jump skips or jogging skips.
Start with a few minutes, even a couple of minutes is good and then slowly build up the time until you can skip happily for far longer.
Calories burned per minute: 15.
Another childhood favorite, the good old hula-hoop!
It takes a little practice but once you can balance a hula-hoop around your waist and twist to keep it up for as long as possible, you’ll start burning the calories and sculpting your waist.
Half an hour of the hula-hoop can burn up to 210 calories and it definitely trims up the belly – try it, it’s a really good fun exercise that anyone can do!