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Is Running a Good Way to Lose Belly Fat?

By Chris Dinesen Rogers ; Updated July 18, 2017

If you are running to burn belly fat, you are part of a small group of individuals. According to the 2010 American Time Use Survey, only 5 percent of Americans engage in intense exercise such as running. Unlike less strenuous activities, running burns significant amounts of calories to shrink inches off of your waistline. It requires a commitment to regular exercise to see its benefits.

Abdominal Fat Loss

Belly fat isn't just unattractive, it also has health risks. Harvard Medical School warns that visceral fat can negatively impact health. It's possible to lose fat around your midsection easily with cardio workouts. Aerobic exercises like running are ideal because they burn more calories than less-intense activities like walking.

Calorie and Fat Burn

While you cannot target fat loss, running will help you shed pounds and fat through calorie burn. A 1995 study by the 62nd Medical Group at Fort Lewis concluded that fat burn occurred with calorie expenditure regardless of exercise intensity. Running gives you the added advantage of helping you lose belly fat more quickly thanks to higher calorie burn. According to HealthStatus, a person weighing 160 lbs. will burn around 460 calories in 45 minutes.

Running Schedule

The more time you find for running, the more belly fat you will lose. In a Duke University published in 2003, researchers found that participants who ran 20 miles per week lost belly fat, while those who did exercise put on 9 percent fat after six months of inactivity. In addition to losing inches around your midsection, you are also taking significant measures to improve your health by running.


While effective for burning belly fat, you need to proceed slowly with an exercise program. Running is a highly intense form of exercise, suitable for individuals who have already been exercising for several months, the American Heart Association says. If you have an existing health condition, such as high blood pressure, consult your doctor first. An effective running program will include three workouts with rest days in between. When not running, walk to keep you in the exercise habit. With regular activity, you will find that your belly fat begins to decrease in size.

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