Visceral fat can be found near internal organs like the liver, stomach and intestines. Having excess fat around these important organs has been linked to higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
Simple lifestyle changes could help reduce the amount of visceral fat. Experts recommend that people prioritize exercise to avoid or get rid of the potentially harmful form of fat in the body.
But reducing belly fat through exercise may have different results. It would depend on the intensity of the activity, according to Leon Creaney, sports and exercise medicine consultant at OrthTeam Center in England.
He explained that people who do high-intensity exercise would need carbohydrates for faster energy delivery and to support the body. A low-intensity approach is much slower and requires fat metabolism to fuel the body.
“Therefore to burn fat, it is recommended that people do long duration but low-intensity exercise,” Creaney told . “For example running at a slow pace for one hour. The same can be said for cycling and swimming at the same heart rate. Brisk walking is also good.”
The effects of slower endurance training in burning visceral fat have also been proven in numerous studies. One study by the University Hospital of Ulm in Germany analyzed weight and low-intensity exercise during the Trans Europe Footrace.
Researchers followed runners during the multi-day long-distance ultramarathon across Europe. Each participant carried a mobile MRI uniT to send clear images of their body’s internal structure during the competition.
The research team scanned the body of runners every three or four days using the device to see how their body composition changed as the race went on. After 64 days of running, participants lost half their total body fat, including 70 percent of their visceral fat.
Creaney said that people should combine low-intensity exercise with a healthy diet to reduce more belly fat. Other research suggested a low-carb diet could help speed up the visceral fat-burning process.
Such eating plan focuses on protein sources, including meat, poultry, fish and eggs, and some non-starchy vegetables. However, people should avoid or reduce grains, legumes, fruits, breads, sweets, pastas and starchy vegetables when on low-carb diet.
Study shows that long duration, low intensity exercise, such as running, cycling and swimming, could help reduce or avoid belly fat. Pixabay