Can You Lose Stomach Fat on a Treadmill?

Stomach fat is sneaky, gradually accumulating over time. The svelte, flat abs of your youth can easily become the spare tire of advancing age if you don't stay on top of your fitness game. While you can't spot-reduce the fat parked around your middle, performing regular exercise on a treadmill can be an effective tool in a comprehensive plan to trim that belly.

Abdominal Fat

Abdominal fat is not just unsightly -- it's also a danger to your health. This is particularly true of visceral fat, which lies beneath the abdominal wall and collects around internal organs. The American Council on Exercise cites hypertension, breast cancer and high cholesterol as possible hazards of too much visceral fat. Increased incidence of metabolic syndrome, which contributes to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, is another significant risk of carrying fat in the waist.

Losing Fat

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Weight loss is based on a simple principle: creating a calorie deficit. Simply put, burn more calories than you take in and you will lose weight. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories daily and you'll lose 1pound of fat in one week. This can be effectively accomplished through a combination of diet and exercise, particularly aerobic exercise such as that performed on a treadmill. A 2011 Duke University study found that this type of exercise not only burned 67 percent more calories than resistance exercise, but it was most effective at reducing dangerous visceral fat as well.

Treadmill Workout

To burn deep layers of stomach fat on a treadmill, you will need to exercise daily for 30 to 60 minutes, according to the Duke study. Exercising at 80 percent of the maximum heart rate worked best for research participants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can find your 80 percent maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 then multiplying by 0.80. The result will be the beats per minute you should try to maintain while exercising on the treadmill. Lead study researcher Cris Slentz, Ph.d. says, however, that exercising with a bit less intensity is also effective, with fat loss still occurring but at a slower rate. If you wish to exercise at 70 percent maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and multiply by 0.70.

Other Factors

The Best Way to Reduce Visceral Belly Fat

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A truly trim stomach is not the result of treadmill efforts alone. Combining aerobics with resistance exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep and stress reduction will also help you win the battle of the belly bulge. Specifically, resistance exercise performed for one hour twice a week will help you burn additional fat, while strengthening muscles and bones, says Harvard Medical School. Eating a diet high in lean proteins such as baked, skinless fish and chicken, and complex carbs such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, will also contribute to a leaner, healthier physique.