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Swing your arms on the treadmill to help reduce fat.
Chris Clinton/Photodisc/Getty Images
Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best things you can do when you're trying to lose weight. Reducing your calorie intake with a healthy diet and burning calories through exercise helps create the calorie deficit necessary for losing total body fat - some of which will come from your belly. For variety, you can't go wrong with the treadmill. By adjusting the speed and incline and working intervals into your exercise session, you can up your calorie burn and banish belly fat.
Intensity = Fat Loss
The idea that low-intensity exercise is better for fat loss has been debunked. While your body burns more fat when you're exercising at a low intensity, you burn more calories overall when you exercise at a moderate-to-high intensity, according to Len Kravitz, Ph.D., of the University of New Mexico. When it comes to belly fat loss, it's total calories that count, not where those calories come from.
Your treadmill exercise session should be challenging enough that you break a sweat and find it difficult to carry on a complex conversation. There are many ways you can manipulate a treadmill to increase the intensity of your workout.
Increase Your Speed
Whether you're walking or running, a faster pace will increase your calorie burn for belly fat loss. For example, a person who weighs 155 pounds burns about 150 calories walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour for 30 minutes, according to estimates from Harvard Medical School. At 4 miles per hour, the total calorie burn is 167, and at a brisk pace of 4.5 miles per hour calorie burn increases to 186.
The same is true for running. Running burns more calories than jogging, and sprinting burns more calories than running. Even if you can't jog or run the entire time, picking up the pace periodically will increase the calories you burn.
Raise the Incline
Of course, everyone knows that walking up a hill is tougher than walking on flat terrain. When you walk uphill, you can feel your heart beat faster and your breathing becomes more rapid. Although there's no way to quantify just how many extra calories you're burning, you can estimate the increase by how much harder you have to work.
You'll also build more muscle in your lower body climbing hills than walking on a flat surface. Additional muscle mass helps increase your resting metabolism so you burn more belly fat around the clock, according to Paige Kinucan and Len Kravitz, Ph.D., of the University of New Mexico. You can try one of the pre-programmed hill routines on your treadmill, or manually increase and decrease the incline according to your preference.
Even if you're not doing an incline workout, set the incline to 1 percent, which is the equivalent of walking outdoors on pavement, found a landmark study in Journal of Sports Sciences in 1996.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, offers many benefits for belly fat loss. This type of training involves alternating periods of intense effort with periods of recovery. The goal is to get your heart rate very high during the work periods, then let it come back down during the rest periods. This enables you to increase the overall intensity and calorie-burning potential of your workout.
According to a study published in Journal of Diabetes Research in 2017, the major benefit of HIIT may be a matter of time efficiency. For 12 weeks, 43 participants engaged in either HIIT or moderate-intensity continuous training. Both groups lost total and abdominal fat mass at the same rate. However, although both groups had the same calorie-burning target in each exercise session, the HIIT group reached the goal in significantly less time.