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Aqua aerobics helps reduce belly fat.
Martin Barraud/OJO Images/Getty Images
Like land-based cardio, aqua aerobics is an effective exercise for trimming belly bulge -- especially when paired with a sensible diet. And fortunately for water lovers, this non-impact activity is making a comeback, according to the "Los Angeles Times." Some regions offer Latin dance, kickboxing and spinning classes, all taught in the pool. Not only are the aqua versions easier on your joints, but the water keeps you cool as you sweat.
Visceral Fat May Vanish
The most dangerous fat is the visceral fat that sits deep in your belly around your inner organs. This fat is linked to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Aerobic exercise, however, is the best tool for burning visceral fat, noted medicine professor Kerry Stewart in an interview with "U.S. News & World Report." The most effective aerobic activities are the most intensive ones, according to Stewart, so choose aqua classes that focus on vigorous activity rather than light or moderate exercise to burn the most abdominal fat.
Pinchable Fat May Melt
Visceral fat may be the bigger health threat, but you're probably just as eager to burn the subcutaneous belly fat that you can pinch. Aqua aerobics helps here as well because it burns significant calories. The only way to burn this fat is by creating a calorie deficit, which happens when you burn more calories than you eat. The actual number of calories burned during aqua aerobics varies dramatically according to the intensity, notes the American Council on Exercise. On average, however, a 160-pound person may burn about 400 calories per hour. For perspective, it takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to burn one pound of fat.
Your Stomach Stays Slimmer
Once you lose visceral fat, aqua aerobics can help stop it from returning -- even if you regain some weight. In a University of Alabama at Birmingham study published in 2009, researchers followed dieters who participated in either aerobic or resistance exercises twice weekly. After a year, those who stuck with their exercise program did not regain any visceral fat, even if they did gain back weight. Non-exercisers, however, regained both visceral and subcutaneous fat.
To make a significant dent in abdominal fat, perform aqua aerobics or other cardiovascular exercises on a regular basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio, or at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous cardio. It also recommends performing resistance exercises such as weightlifting, pushups and crunches at least twice weekly. To ensure results, also cut out fast food and sweets, and instead choose reasonable portions of whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, brown rice and salmon.