12. Exercise Away Belly Fat
Studies suggest that to lose belly fat, exercise is absolutely necessary, and diet alone is not sufficient. This may seem intimidating, but to begin losing belly fat you do not need to run five miles a day. Even a slow start is beneficial, and reductions in belly fat happen in a dose-dependant manner, meaning that the more you exercise the more belly fat will be lost.
There is a minimum amount necessary, which research suggests is 10 METs of aerobic exercise a week. METs are a way to measure exercise using the same principle as the way we measure our resting metabolic rate. Because everyone is different, and has different metabolisms, burning 100 calories takes different amounts of time for different people and is not a useful measurement. METs helps give a scale applicable to everyone.
METs (metabolic equivalent of a task) measure not the calories burned by an activity, but the overall intensity. The more intense an exercise, the more METs are accumulated. One MET is roughly equivalent to sitting for one hour–in other words, if you did nothing at all, all day, you would burn exactly 24 METs, meeting your resting metabolic rate.
13. The Exercises You Need to Do to Burn Belly Fat
Activities which require more effort, even slightly, accrue METs faster, reflecting the increased amount of energy required to perform these tasks. Here is a brief chart of activities with MET equivalents (per hour):
Sitting Quietly: 1 MET
Walking: 2-3 METs
Leisure Biking: 4 METs
Biking, light-moderate: 7-8 METs
Biking, vigorous: 10 METs
Swimming, light-moderate: 6 METs
Jogging (4 mph): 6 METs
Running (6 mph): 10 METs
Running (8 mph): 12 METs
Sprinting (12 mph): 19 METs
As the relative intensity of the exercise increases, MET hours also go up. If you could run at 12 mph for an hour, you would burn the metabolic equivalent of 19 hours at rest (19 METs)! Of course, this is probably not possible, but you still get significant benefit from jogging at 4 mph–two hours of jogging at this rate will net you 12 METs, two above the minimum requirement weekly for belly fat reduction!
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