Does Stationary Bike Burn Belly Fat?
With age, we tend to move less, lose muscles, gain fat and at some point, we realize that we have belly fat. Unlike other types of fat which are located around your legs, thighs, or arms, tummy fat is something you should really take seriously since it may have serious consequences on your health! It's important to know if you store dangerous belly fat, what causes it and how you can prevent it. Does cycling on an exercise bike reduce belly fat? How should I exercise to burn fat? We'll share some tips with you to help you reduce belly fat and give you 2 belly fat burning workouts!
1. Belly Fat, Stomach Fat or Visceral Fat: what is it exactly?
Belly fat is not simply an aesthetic concern but truly a health problem since it has an impact on your body and increases the risks of cardiovascular diseases. However, we should distinguish between two kinds of belly fat:
• Subcutaneous fat, which is stored just under your skin and that you can feel by pinching your skin on your belly or your thighs.
• Visceral fat, also known as deep fat, is an accumulation of fat, also called adipose tissue, much deeper under the skin, around your organs in the abdominal region, including the liver, pancreas, kidneys and the intestines. Visceral fat cannot be pinched, it's rather firm.
It is the visceral fat that is dangerous and associated with various health problems.
What are the risks associated with visceral fat?
Visceral fat is dangerous since it alters hormonal functions such as the regulation of mood, appetite and weight. It can also increase your "bad cholesterol" and your blood pressure. Last but not least, it makes your body less sensitive to insulin, therefore increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Visceral fat increases the risks of health problems and diseases like:
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- breast cancer
- colorectal cancer
- Alzheimer's disease
How do you know if you have visceral fat?
Many people don't know whether they have visceral fat or not. If you have a prominent belly or a large waist, it's a clear sign that you probably store visceral fat. If you want to be 100% sure, it's possible to undergo an MRI scan but it's quite an expensive method. An easy and quite reliable way to find out whether you have visceral fat is to simply measure your waist circumference.
How to measure your waist circumference?
Take a tape measure and circle your waist. Place the tape above your belly button and below your rib cage and measure your waist without pulling your stomach. The value should be lower than
- 35 inches (88 cm) for women
- 40 inches (102 cm) for men
If your waist is above these values, chances are high that you store visceral fat.
Visceral fat is something you should take seriously and start fighting right now. It's important to understand what causes visceral fat in order to efficiently get rid of it and prevent it.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW. Generally speaking, fat is good for our body and even vital. We need it to survive since fat is a source of energy. Our body uses fat to provide energy to our life functions. However, excess fat can be dangerous for our body and increase the risks of various health problems and diseases. It's all about the right balance!
2. What Causes Visceral Fat?
Weight gain and excess fat is mainly due to a positive energy balance (or caloric balance), that is when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure. However, visceral fat is different from other kinds of fat and also has very specific factors like stress, hormones and genes. Here are the factors that cause abdominal visceral fat:
• A diet too rich in fats and sugars. Absorbed fats are too large to be expended and are then stored in fat cells. The more fat someone has, the more visceral fat he will also have.
• A sedentary lifestyle and a lack of physical activity. The WHO recommends to do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity or 1 hour 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week. This is the minimum requirement! When you do sports and exercises, your body burns calories and fat. On the contrary, when you have an insufficient level of physical activity, your body tends to accumulate fat.
• Stress seems to have an important impact on visceral fat. Researchers have found that the hormone released by stress, cortisol, was responsible for an increased level of visceral fat.
• Alcohol consumption in high quantities can promote the accumulation of deep fat.
• Hormones, especially the fluctuations in hormone levels, play a role in the fat cell storage. Estrogens and progesterone (female sex hormones) promote the storage of fat. Some periods of life such as menopause, characterized by hormonal changes, are associated with changes in body fat distribution. Studies have shown that abdominal fat, especially visceral fat, was more pronounced in post-menopausal women.
• Genetics: Researchers have observed variations in abdominal visceral fat levels among the population and tried to find out to which extent visceral fat was linked to genetic components.
When you consume more calories than needed by your body and you do not exercise enough to burn these extra calories, then your body accumulates fat. If on top of that, you are stressed, then the accumulated fat will probably become visceral fat. To get rid of belly fat, you should essentially change your diet and increase your level of physical activity!
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW. Recent studies tend to show that cigarette smoking could have an impact in the accumulation of belly fat. The link between smoking and increased visceral fat is still being investigated, but it could be related to the effects of nicotine, which promotes the release of cortisol, the stress hormone.
3. Does the Stationary Bike help lose Belly Fat?
Exercise and sports are absolutely essential to burn calories and fat as well as to build muscles. They definitely belong to a healthy lifestyle and should be part of any diet since sports and exercise are one of the two variables, if not the most important, of the energy balance equation (calorie expenditure). Cycling on a stationary bike is very efficient in burning calories (300 to 700 kcal per hour) and fat since you can alternate between cardio exercises (aerobic zone) and HIIT workouts (anaerobic zone) and thus burn belly fat faster. Moreover, the exercise bike has great benefits on your body, such as help you tone your legs, thighs and buttocks, and also has amazing effects on your brain such as reducing stress, which is one of the factors causing belly fat.
The good news is that belly fat is the easiest fat to burn, unlike subcutaneous fat which is more difficult to get rid of. Cycling on a stationary bike is a very effective way to reduce belly fat. You should however exercise regularly to get these benefits. You should also combine regular exercise with a healthy and well-balanced diet in order to prevent belly fat. If you do that, you will lose weight and burn fat on stomach!
Treadmill or Exercise bike for burning belly fat: Which is the most efficient? Both fitness machines offer a cardio workout and allow you to exercise in the aerobic zone (70-80% of your maximum heart rate), in which you will burn stored fat for fuel, and are therefore very good for weight loss on stomach. However, it is much easier to do interval workouts (HIIT) cycling on the stationary bike than walking on the treadmill. For that reason, we would rather recommend the exercise bike if your goal is to lose belly fat.
A healthy lifestyle, which consists of regular exercise combined with a well-balanced diet, is the best prevention against belly fat!
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW. Unfortunately, you cannot target the fat you would like to reduce and doing abs and crunches will not eliminate belly fat. Abs and crunches may simply strengthen your abs, which is a good thing anyway. When you exercise, your body burns calories and fat everywhere, not in a specific area. The stationary bike is certainly a better way to eliminate fat since it offers a complete and demanding cardio workout and works your abs, legs and thighs.
4. Which exercise bike workouts to get rid of belly fat?
The right combination of cardio and HIIT workout seems to be most efficient way to reduce tummy fat. Here are 2 workout plans you can follow: The first one for losing 0,5 kg in a month and the second one for more advanced that will help you lose 1 kg in one month. You can start with the first one for 4 to 6 weeks and then move on to the second one.
Workout Plan N°1
• Cardio Workout on Tuesday (30 min)
• HIIT Workout on Thursday (25 min)
• Cardio Workout on Sunday (45 min)
Workout Plan N°2
• Cardio Workout on Monday (30 to 45 min)
• HIIT Workout on Tuesday and Thursday (25 min)
• Cardio Workout on Saturday (45 to 60 min)
Clara Miller has a Master's degree in Sports Science and Sports Management and has worked for famous sports and fitness brands. She is passionate about sports and regularly writes about fitness, weight loss and motivation for various blogs and magazines.
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