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Slim up with a regular walking routine.
A walking program is one of the easiest types of exercise to engage in -- it's an activity you already do on a daily basis, it requires no special equipment and is appropriate for every fitness level. Walking offers several benefits including reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers and can even help flatten your stomach. To what degree walking can flatten your stomach, however, depends on several factors.
Walking Is Not an Ab Exercise
Walking is a total-body cardiovascular exercise that primarily targets the muscles of your lower body. Despite the fact that it does not directly target your stomach, walking can still have an effect on the size of your midsection. Your daily walking workouts are powered by energy stores that are pulled from throughout your body. Theoretically, the longer and more often you walk, the more energy is used and, overtime, the more weight you'll lose resulting in a slimmer body and a flatter stomach.
But Calories Count
In order to lose weight and flatten your stomach, you'll have to burn 3,500 calories while walking to lose one pound of fat. According to Harvard Health Publications, a 155-pound person walking at 3.5 mph, a comfortable pace for most people, will burn about 149 calories in 30 minutes. Up the speed to 4 mph, and the same person will burn 167 calories in 30 minutes. While walking is not a huge calorie burner, it will help you chip away at your fat loss goal.
How Much, How Often
In order to lose weight and flatten your stomach, you must be willing to commit a reasonable amount of time to your walking program. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing 150 to 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking. To see clinically significant weight loss, they suggest sticking to or exceeding 250 minutes per week. Walking 150 minutes per week breaks down to 30 minutes a day five days per week -- the higher end of the recommendation comes down to at least 50 minutes of walking five days per week.
Intensify the Walk
If you don't have an hour a day to spend on exercise, or you simply want to challenge yourself, there are a couple ways you can up the intensity of your walking workout. Walking hills or on an incline on a treadmill will make your workout more challenging. You can also try interval training, which involves alternating between work and recover cycles. For example, after warming up, begin by walking at a very brisk pace for one minute then slow to a comfortable pace for two minutes. Repeat the cycle for the duration of your workout. Working at a higher intensity will increase the calorie burn, speeding up your weight loss results.
Food For Thought
While you're busy walking your stomach flat, remember to stay smart in the kitchen. Eating unhealthy, high-calorie foods can put a damper on your weight-loss goals. Fuel your body with fresh, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, low-fat dairy, whole-grains and lean sources of protein. It won't take long for an occasional fast food burger and fries to cancel out several walking workouts and sabotage your efforts.