Many men and women carry extra weight in their belly area, a problem that is both unsightly and dangerous. Researchers have found that belly fat is linked to a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high insulin levels, according to "USA Today." To lose that spare tire, combine a healthful, lean diet with cardiovascular and strength-training exercises.
Cardiovascular exercise is the first step in losing your gut. Experts recommend you do 30 to 60 minutes of cardio three to five times a week. The more cardio you do, and the greater the intensity, the more calories you will burn. Beginners should start with slower-paced activities such as walking and work their way up to more intense workouts such as running or aerobics. There are many aerobics and cardio workout DVDs that help you work out at home.
"Men's Fitness" magazine recommends doing interval workouts of running or biking. With interval workouts, you push yourself hard for short bursts of time, then slow your pace for a few minutes, enabling you to do a longer and more challenging workout without exhausting yourself. To avoid getting bored, vary your cardio activities throughout the week or work out with a friend.
Crunches are a simple way to build abdominal muscles and can be done anywhere because they require no special equipment. There are many variations on the basic crunch or sit-up that target specific areas of the abs. Elite personal trainer and NCCP sprint coach Alicia Bell recommends static crunches as a great way for beginners to strengthen abdominal muscles.
To do a static crunch, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet shoulder width apart. Bend your arms and support, but do not push, your neck with your hands. Lift your shoulders halfway to your knees and hold for 30 seconds, then lift slightly higher and hold for another 30 seconds. Return to the starting position.
To work your side abs, lift your shoulders toward your knees and touch your right elbow to your left knee. Hold for 30 seconds, or as long as you can. Then touch your left elbow to your right knee. Do as many reps of these crunches as you can, increasing over time.
Pelvic Tilts and Knee-Ups
To target lower abs, get into the crunch position, but lift your legs and hips instead of your shoulders. To do a pelvic tilt, lift your bottom off the ground, keeping your belly button tucked in. Hold for at least two seconds, and return to the starting position.
To do a knee-up, lift your feet off the ground with knees bent so your legs form a right angle. Lift your knees into the air, raising your bottom off the ground, and hold for two seconds, then return to the starting position. Do as many reps of these as you can, increasing over time, says sixpacknow.com.