by Geri Walton ~ February 28th, 2009
Excess belly fat has been linked to numerous disease, and for the past fifteen years the average American waist circumference has grown and grown. In fact, according American Sports Data, “3.8 million people are over 300 pounds, over 400,000 people (mostly males) carry over 400 pounds and the average adult female weighs an unprecedented 163 pounds!”
If you are unsure how you stand on the belly fat issue, read How Much Belly Fat is Too Much. If you decide you need to lose belly fat, one great way to reduce it is by using interval training where you intersperse short bursts of intensive effort into more moderate-intensity activities, such as walking or cycling.
Interval training is easy enough to add to your regular workout schedule. To increase your burn rate, instead of a doing your normal steady workout, at least every ten minutes have a one-minute intensive burst and go as fast as you can. So, for example, if you walk at a steady speed of 3.8 miles per hour, after the first ten minutes, run as fast as you can for one minute, maybe as fast as 6.2 miles per hour. Then for ten minutes return to your steady pace of 3.8 miles per hour.
According to a study conducted by Canadian PhD Jason Talanian, by using interval training, you’ll ultimately lose more weight and reduce your belly fat. Talanian found that “after interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 per cent and cardiovascular fitness increased by 13 per cent.” The reason why is that you enhance your fat burning rate, so even when you’re body is at rest it takes longer for your body to return to its normal burn rate and you burn more fat.
Besides burning belly fat, you’ll also enjoy other health benefits from interval training. For instance, vigorous exercise lowers stress, and you can reduce the stress hormones, such as cortisol, that contribute to belly fat. Another benefit for “both men and women,…is a 20%-35% relative risk reduction to all causes of death, including cardiovascular disease, for those who do the most physical activity.” So, not only will you be trimmer, fitter, and less stressed, you’ll likely extend your life.