Running hills outside improves coordination, driving you toward your fitness goals.
If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck out of an aerobic workout, consider pushing yourself to new heights by running at an incline. Incline running increases the effort of your workout, helping you lose more weight and trim more fat from your whole body, including your belly. Still, there is no exercise that can target a specific area of the body for fat loss, so you need to take a well-rounded approach to your fitness routine to see results.
The Calorie Burn
The first step to getting a flat stomach is losing weight. The more calories you burn, the more weight you will lose, and the flatter that stomach will get. A 155-pound person running at a moderate pace of six miles per hour can expect to burn around 372 calories in 30 minutes. Effort increases by 4 percent for every 1 percent of incline, according to fitness coach Dave Wavey in 2013. Running at the same pace with a 5-percent incline, the same 155-pound person would burn about 75 more calories in 30 minutes.
In 2013, notable U.K. track coach Brian Mackenzie claimed that running hills can force your body to recruit two to three times the number of muscle fibers as running on a flat surface. Although the majority of these muscle fibers will be recruited in your lower body, your midsection will benefit from the increased calorie burn as much as any other part of your body. Running is predominantly a lower-body exercise, but running hills forces you to pump your arms faster to keep up your momentum, activating core muscles much more than a leisurely jog.
If you want to keep it simple, you can just increase the incline on the treadmill during a 30- or 60-minute run. However, if you really want to feel the burn, consider running hills. You can run long mountain trails at a moderate pace, or you can go all-out on short hills with sprints. Although you won't be able to keep these workouts up for as long as you could on a flat surface, you will benefit from an extended period of post-exercise calorie burn due to the increased effort of the workout.
Incline running may seem like a quick fix to get a flat stomach, but if you really want to see marked improvement in your core, you need to take a holistic approach to your fitness routine. In addition to training hard and often, you should balance your workouts with a healthy nutrition regimen. You can't lose fat without burning more calories than you take in, no matter how often you train. Additionally, you can't choose where your calories come off during a workout. Your body uses energy according to metabolic requirements, so you're not going to burn belly fat exclusively.