5 Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

By Hayley Townsend |

Trim your waistline with these easy and effective moves that are designed to target this common problem area.

Carrying too much weight around your middle isn’t just a vanity issue. Belly fat can also have an unwelcome impact on your health, increasing your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and breast cancer, according to Harvard University.

There are two different types of belly fat, and one of them is significantly more dangerous than the other. Subcutaneous fat is the kind that you can pinch. You may not want it there, but it isn’t causing much harm. The problematic type is called visceral fat, and you may not even know you have it. It surrounds your organs inside your abdominal cavity, which is why it can lead to chronic illness as it accumulates.

Before you start worrying too much, it is possible to lose belly fat — even after 65. Healthy eating is always a smart strategy, but consistent activity is also crucial to get rid of it. The best exercises to help you shed your belly fat also build strength and muscle mass in your core that can give you a big assist in the activities of daily living.

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How to Use These Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

Try incorporating these five exercises into your exercise routine to help you lose that stubborn belly fat. SilverSneakers National Trainer Andi Kwapien will show you how to do them with proper form.

Try to do each exercise for 30 seconds, resting between them. These moves can work for all skill levels, and we’ve also included an option of how to make them more difficult if you want them to be. For a longer workout, more intense workout, repeat these five exercises 2 or 3 times.

As always, safety is key. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Exercise #1: Spinal Twist

This move builds core strength by using the obliques to rotate the body. The obliques are the muscles that run along either side of your torso. Twisting your trunk helps stabilize and strengthen your core, which can also improve your posture over time.

  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and bend your knees slightly.
  • Make gentle fists and bend your arms upwards in front of your shoulders.
  • Twist your upper body to the right, then to the left, and then to the right again. On the third twist, raise your left heel off the ground and lower it again.
  • Twist back to the left, then to the right, and then to the left again, lifting your right heel.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds.

Up the intensity: Raise your knee up from the floor rather than your heel on your third twist.

Exercise #2: Standing Mountain Climber

This exercise engages multiple muscle groups in your midsection, including the abdominals, obliques and your lower back. Dynamic exercises like this one can also improve balance, coordination and overall functional strength.

  • Stand tall with your feet spread apart at a comfortable distance.
  • Raise both arms toward the ceiling, keeping them parallel.
  • Engage your core muscles to stabilize your torso.
  • Bring your right elbow down toward your waist as you simultaneously kick your left heel back off the ground.
  • Switch sides, bringing your left elbow down toward your waist as you kick your right heel off the ground.
  • Continue alternating sides in a controlled and rhythmic motion for 30 seconds.

Up the intensity: Rather than raising your heel from the floor, raise your knee toward your waist. You can also move faster to get your heart rate up.

Exercise #3: Double Step Reach and Push

This one is like a dance move that works the oblique muscles. Like the others, it can also improve your balance, coordination and functional strength.

  • Take two steps to the right, then bring your left arm across your body to push with the heel of your hand toward the right side of the room.
  • Rotate your body toward the right side of the room as you push your arm, lifting the heel of your back foot to aid in the twist.
  • Take two steps to the left, then push with the heel of your hand toward the left side of the room. Alternate sides, repeating for 30 seconds.

Up the intensity: Keep your knees bent as you step to each side. Then use your lower-body strength to push yourself up as you reach your arm across your body.

Exercise #4: Side Lunge with Diagonal Reach

This windmill move is a full-body workout that targets multiple muscle groups, enhances core strength, and can help improve daily functioning.

  • Spread your feet a bit wider than hip distance and keep your toes pointed forward.
  • Shift your weight to your right foot and bend your right knee.
  • Push your hips back and hinge forward, like a squat, keeping your chest up. Then, reach your left hand toward your right foot.
  • Keep your feet planted on the floor and straighten your right knee to push yourself up. As you do this, raise and extend your left arm up at a diagonal angle toward the left side of the room.
  • Bend your knees and hinge your hips back, reaching your left hand toward your right food again. This time, as you push back up, extend your arm straight out to the side.
  • Repeat this sequence for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Up the intensity: As you extend your left arm out to the side in step 5, step your right foot in to meet the left one.

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Exercise #5: Rotational Squat + Low Jack

Performing this exercise hits multiple muscle groups, including the core, legs and upper body. Rotational movements and squatting both improve your ability to pick things up off the floor when you drop them.

  • Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart and bending your knees slightly.
  • Rotate your body to the right while stepping your right foot back. You can squat or remain standing upright.
  • Return to center and tap your right toe to the ground while also pushing your right arm forward. Repeat the tapping motion with your left toe while reaching your left arm forward.
  • Now rotate your body to the left while stepping your left foot back. Come back to center and repeat the tapping and reaching motion.
  • Repeat the entire sequence, alternating between right and left rotations, for 30 seconds.

Up the intensity: After you step back with your right or left foot, sink into a deeper squat. You can also move through the sequence at a quicker pace to challenge yourself.

Recommended variations: If you prefer to exercise in a chair, try this 10-minute seated workout to strengthen your core. For a speedier exercise routine, you can perform these six core exercises in 3 minutes.

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