Dietary fat is a vital part of the diet that functions as a backup source of energy in the absence of carbohydrates, absorbs and stores vitamins provides insulation to the body and maintains the normal body temperature.
The fat in the body can be divided into two categories: subcutaneous fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is situated below the skin where it provides insulation to the body.
Visceral fat is a backup energy reservoir located in the abdomen surrounding the vital organs.
It holds the body organs intact at their original position and acts as a shock absorber during violent collisions.
How does Fat Accumulate?
Fat accumulation in the body can be triggered by various factors such as:
1. Hormonal Changes
The deposition of fat can be due to changes in the levels of various hormones.
The male sex hormone (testosterone) helps in building the muscles and also burns fat in the abdominal area.
The level of testosterone secretion declines with an increase in age that leads to the deposition of fat.
In females, the level of secretion of ovarian hormone (estrogen and progesterone) falls after menopause and fat begin to deposit in hips, thighs, and buttocks.
Moreover, resistance to leptin hormone that prevents hunger and maintains the energy balance can lead to the blunt feeling of fullness and over-consumption.
2. Poor Diet
Eating a diet rich in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates can contribute in weight gain.
A diet with a high content of refined sugar is responsible for deposition of belly fat.
According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (2009 Edition) , it was observed that the visceral belly fat is more likely to be found in those who consume fructose-sweetened soft drinks.
Refined grains (e.g. white bread and pasta) also contribute to the accumulation of belly fat.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010 Edition), it was observed that the fat accumulation in the belly region fastens as the intake of refined grains is increased.
The study concluded that whole grains such as barley, brown rice, millet, oatmeal, popcorn, whole-wheat bread, and pasta should be consumed for weight management.
3. Lifestyle Habits
Reduced physical activities also contribute to belly fat accumulation due to a decrease in energy expenditure.
This fat deposition can be avoided by encouraging people to do more exercises in order to stay fit and active.
The duration of sleep, less than 5 hours or more than 8 hours, also contributes in extra fat deposition.
Taking too much stress elevates the level of secretion of cortisol hormone that may cause an increase in the rate of visceral fat deposition in many people.
Where does fat accumulate?
Fat is deposited in specialized fat cells called adipocytes.
Fat reserves are present in the form of globules in the cytoplasm of adipocytes.
The growth in the size of these cells can be due to hormonal changes, consumption of high-calorie food and other lifestyle changes.
When adipocytes attain a maximum size, they undergo several divisions in order to produce more adipocytes thereby resulting in an increase in fat storage.
The adipocytes are mainly found in the belly and buttocks region, hence in obese people, huge fat deposits are found in these regions.
10 Best Abs Exercises To Rapidly Burn Belly Fat
Here is a list of abs exercises that actually help in burning fats and toning abs rapidly.
1. Plank Exercise
Start with a pushup position and then bend the elbows through 90 degrees such that the elbows are directly under the shoulders and the whole body weight rests on the forearms.
Make sure that the body forms a straight line from head to feet. Hold the position for 20-60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
Plank exercise works on biceps, triceps, quadriceps, obliques, pectorals major and hamstrings.
It helps to increase the upper and lower body strength. This exercise assists in the stretching of muscles and thereby improves flexibility.
The plank exercise should not be performed by anyone having hip or shoulder injury.
In case of any health problem, the plank exercise should be done under the supervision of a fitness trainer.
Watch it here:
2. Crunch Exercise
Lie on the back with knees bent, hips apart and hands on either side of the head but do not lock the fingers.
Lift the shoulders such that the lower back always remains in contact with the floor.
Hold this position for a moment and then return to the starting position slowly. Repeat this exercise 12-16 times.
Crunches targets pectoral major, external obliques, internal obliques, and transverse abdominal muscles.
It helps to strengthen the abdominal muscles, enhances the core strength and also improves the balance if performed correctly.
People with back pain and spinal injuries are recommended to avoid crunches as these people are at a greater risk of developing tension and pain in both neck and hips.
Watch it here:
3. Sit up
Lie on the back with knees bent and fingertips behind the ears. Pull the shoulders back without putting any strain on the neck.
Lift the body by raising the lower back and hold this position for a moment. Return to the starting position and then repeat.
Sit-ups are core strengthening exercise that targets the abdominal and hip muscles and thereby helps to build strong core strength.
People having spinal troubles are advised to stay away from doing sit-ups as it can create a disc bulge and may also damage the spine in some cases.
Watch it here:
4. Boat Pose
Sit with knees bent and hands resting beside the hips. Lean back slightly and lift the feet off the floor while keeping the spine straight.
Straighten the legs as much as possible forming a ‘V’ shape with the body. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds. Lower the legs and hands and move back to the starting position.
Boat pose helps to build up the abdomen, spine and hip flexors.
It stimulates the functioning of kidneys, improves digestion, relieves stress and regulates the activity of thyroid and prostate glands.
Pregnant women and people suffering from spinal injuries, high blood pressure, asthma, hip joint pain, arthritis, neck injury and heart problems should not practice the boat pose exercise.
Anyone suffering from hernia problems should consult a medical professional before including this exercise in his/her fitness routine.
Watch it here :
5. Seated Leg Tucks
Sit on a bench while holding the sides of the bench for support. Keep the legs extended and then raise the legs slightly. Make sure that the torso should be leaning backward at an angle of 45 degrees from the bench.
Bring the knees towards the head and hold this position for a moment. Return to the beginning position and then repeat.
Seated leg tucks are an effective exercise for strengthening and developing the abs as it targets the obliques and abdominal muscles.
The participants should not jerk the legs and trunk while performing the seated leg tucks. One should start slow and control every step while performing this exercise.
Watch it here:
6. Jackknife Sit-Up
Lie on the floor with arms extended behind the head. Keep the legs straight and toes should be pointing forward.
Exhale and raise the legs at an angle of 35-45 degrees by bending at the waist.
Keep the arms parallel to the legs to achieve the jackknife position.
Lower the arms and legs to return back to the starting position. Repeat the jackknife sit-ups as recommended by the trainer.
Jackknife sit-ups strengthen rectus abdominis, obliques, thigh muscles, gluteus, chest muscles, and calves.
Jackknife sit-ups pressurize the spine of the participant. Therefore, it should not be performed by those having back pain, especially in the lower back.
People having neck problems should also avoid jackknife sit-ups as the neck’s stabilizing muscles support the head while doing this exercise.
Watch it here:
7. Mountain Climbers
Start in the plank position with the hands beneath the chest and arms straight. Lift the right foot and bend the knee towards the chest as close as possible.
Return to the starting position. Repeat the same procedure with the left leg and repeat.
Mountain climbers target most muscles in the body including biceps, triceps, quadriceps, pectoralis major, obliques, rectus abdominals, hamstrings, hip adductors, and hip abductors.
This exercise improves blood circulation, strength, flexibility and burns more calories in less time.
One should maintain a proper angle and posture with the legs to obtain the maximum results.
Also, he/she should ensure that the weight is distributed evenly between each of the feet and hands.
Watch it here:
8. Bridge Exercise (Hip Raise)
Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise the hips such that the body forms a straight line from shoulders to knees.
Hold the position and then slowly lower the back to the floor.
The bridge exercise targets hip adductors, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and rectus abdominals. It strengthens the core, bottom, and back of the body.
Pregnant women should pay special attention and perform the bridge exercise under the supervision of a trainer.
The participants having neck, shoulder and spine injuries should not practice the bridge exercise.
One should always consult a medical professional before practicing the exercise to avoid any complications in the future.
Watch it here:
Stand with the feet width apart and arms by the sides. Lower the body into a squat position with the hands on the floor. Step both the legs backward and lower the chest to the floor.
Push the chest back and thrust both the feet forward such that the body is in the squat position again. Jump up and raise both the hands over the head in the air.
Burpees targets every muscle in the body including biceps, triceps, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, deltoids, and calves.
This exercise boosts strength and also burns more calories in less time.
People having joint problems especially in the shoulders and knees are advised to avoid burpee workout.
It should only be performed by physically fit adult because doing this exercise requires extensive fitness.
It is recommended that one should consult a doctor before incorporating this exercise in his/her routine to avoid any injury.
Watch it here:
10. Leg Raises
Lie flat on the floor with legs straight and arms at the sides. Slowly lift the legs to a 90-degree angle and make sure not to bend the knees while performing this exercise.
Hold this position for a moment and then return back to the starting position by lowering the legs slowly.
Leg raises targets lower abdominals, upper abs, hip flexors, and obliques. It helps to strengthen the lower back and reduces the risk of injuries.
The participants experiencing lower back pain and neck problems should avoid leg raises as it pressurizes the neck and lower back and may cause further injuries.
The people who have weak muscles or haven’t exercised before should remain extra cautious while doing leg raises.
Watch it here:
Do a complete warm-up and stretching before starting the workout session.
Abdominal stretches should not be done vigorously as this increases the risk of injuries resulting in pain and discomfort in beginners.
Make sure that the spine remains straight throughout the exercise.
Keep the neck in a straight line with the spine during abdominal exercises to minimize the risk of damaging the vertebrae and to avoid stress and back pain.
One should never hold the breath during core exercises as this may result in elevated blood pressure.
Therefore, it is recommended that a person should breathe evenly and continuously throughout the exercise to decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
Always consult a doctor before starting any high-intensity exercise routine.
Core exercises improve overall fitness, endurance, and strength.
In order to obtain extra health benefits, one needs to increase the duration, intensity, and frequency of exercise.
But one should ensure all the safety precautions before starting a high-intensity workout to minimize the risk of injuries.
Eating a well-balanced diet with more raw foods and fewer processed foods helps to stay active and also accelerates the metabolic rate.
It is always advised that one should consume enough proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and good fats to maintain body fitness and improve health profile.