Can an Elliptical Help Burn Belly Fat?

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The belly is a common area for fat gain in both men and women, but it is more prominent in men. Complications such as type 2 diabetes, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and heart disease can all arise as a result of belly fat. If you are thinking of starting a program on the elliptical to slim down your belly, you'll want to determine how effective it will be before you begin.


Spot reduction is the concept that you can lose weight in one area of your body by simply doing an exercise over and over again. You cannot target a single area on your body for fat removal with a specific exercise. Take the stomach, for example. Sit-ups are exercises that tone and tighten the abdominal muscles, but they do not reduce fat. The only way to reduce fat is to burn more calories than you consume, which can be achieved with dietary changes, cardio exercise, strength-training exercise or any combination of the three. An elliptical is a cardio machine, so it does, in fact, help you lose your belly fat.


An elliptical machine has hand-held poles that are attached to the base and foot pedals. To use it, you must move the poles back and forth while you simultaneously move your legs in a gliding, or "elliptical," motion. By moving back and forth repetitively, you are increasing your heart and causing your body to burn calories. This in turn promotes weight loss throughout your entire body.

Time Frame

The amount of time you spend on the elliptical plays a role in losing your belly fat. If you just glide for a few minutes, you will not make much progress. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it can likely take 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity per day to lose weight. Aim for at least four sessions a week to ensure you make favorable progress and work out more than once a day if you are unable to get the recommended number of minutes in at one session. Accumulated exercise is just as effective as long sessions.


When you push and pull the poles and move your legs back and forth, you recruit a high amount of muscle fiber. You are also forced to contract your abs to remain balanced and to generate power. Whenever you build muscle, you raise your resting metabolic rate which can further help reduce your belly fat. You also have the ability to increase the incline or resistance. This will increase the demand on your muscles and abs.


Being that overall weight loss is your goal, make it a point to change your diet. If you were to cut back by 500 calories a day, you can lose an additional pound a week. Eat foods that are high in nutrients and low in empty calories, like lean meats, fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Also make sure to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated as you glide.


Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.