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Friday, 8 August 2014

Top 10 Sports to Lose Belly Fat

by Ruth de Jauregui, Demand Media

A side-view glimpse in the mirror may be the kick in the pants that you need to start a new diet and exercise plan. Belly fat, the unhealthy visceral fat that lies under your abdominal muscles and around your internal organs, responds best to cardiovascular exercise, which includes a number of individual and team sports. These top 10 calorie-burning sports can help you lose that belly fat.

No. 1: Boxing

ESPN places boxing at the top of its list. Boxing requires hours of training, from jumping rope to sparring before you actually hit the ring for a match. Endurance, agility, footwork, quick reflexes and decisions are all incorporated in the sport. In addition, you'll burn a significant number of calories, which is essential in reducing belly fat. If you weigh 185 pounds, boxing burns 400 calories in only 30 minutes of sparring.

Team Sports to Burn Your Belly Fat

Team sports such as soccer, football and hockey are high-energy activities that keep you moving and motivated while burning calories. While football is generally played outdoors, both soccer and ice hockey may be played in indoor facilities year-round. The alternating moderate pace coupled with intense bursts of running or skating provides the effect of "intervals," where the body continues to burn calories at a high-intensity level, even when the athlete drops back to a moderate pace. These team sports burn between 311 and 400 calories in a 185-pound person during 30 minutes of activity.

Heels and Wheels

Running and bicycling both belong in the top 10 sports to lose belly fat. These aerobic sports may be practiced alone, in a race or as a team member in relay races or bicycling road races. You can also run or cycle on a treadmill or stationary cycle, in the comfort of your home or at the fitness center. While a steady pace burns calories, incorporating intervals in your training program allows you to increase the calorie burn to the higher intensity levels usually found when running at 10 mph or bicycling at 20 mph. At 185 pounds, you could burn up to 733 calories or more in a 30-minute workout -- a plus when working to burn belly fat.

Row Your Boat

You can participate in rowing as a team sport, or as an individual aerobic and strength-building exercise. Rowing teams practice every week and participate in competitions with other teams. The camaraderie and team spirit keep you motivated, while the practices work your major muscle groups and core. If the weather is bad, or you don't live near a rowing team, you can still use the rowing machine at the fitness center to burn up to 377 calories in a 30-minute workout.

Racking It Up With Rackets

The racket sports, including tennis and racquetball, are all vigorous activities that require constant movement as the ball flies and bounces across the court. While tennis is usually played in an outdoor court, racquetball is played in an enclosed room, where the ball may bounce off any of the four walls, the ceiling or the floor. Both sports may be played in matches, with two players, or in doubles. Recreational tennis and racquetball are both relatively vigorous, burning 311 calories in a 185-pound player during a 30-minute game.

Easy on the Joints

Swimming provides the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise without the high impact on your joints. Age, injuries or obesity-related conditions may require selecting a sport that doesn't put more pressure on your body. Whether you take a leisurely swim around the pool or do laps like an Olympic champion, the cardiovascular and calorie burning effects vary according to the intensity of your workout. Just 30 minutes of swimming around the pool burns 266 calories in a 185-pound person, while doing dedicated laps performing the butterfly or crawl burns 488 calories.

Combining Sports With Diet and Strength Training

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate level activities per week, which includes sports. Adding a healthy, low-calorie diet and two or three days of strength training to your sports schedule increases your daily calorie deficit and intensifies your ability to lose belly fat. Since one pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories of stored energy, creating a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories allows you to lose approximately 1 pound per week. Losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is considered a healthy rate of weight loss.

About the Author

Ruth de Jauregui is the author of "The Soul of California—Cooking for the Holidays," "Ghost Towns" and "100 Medical Milestones That Shaped World History." A graphic artist and writer for more than 30 years, she maintains several blogs and is working on her first novels, a fantasy and a steamfunk alternate history.

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