Whittling waists and eliminating love handles takes work and patience.

Exercises to Eliminate Waist & Love Handles

by Barrett Barlowe

How to get a handle on annoying abdominal fat is yet another issue some women wish they never had to face. As if putting on excess padding on the hips and derriere were not bad enough, love handles thicken the trunk area making waistbands fit tighter. Excess fat in the midsection is linked to increased cardiovascular risk and diabetes risk, according to the Mayo Clinic. Following a steady regimen of diet and exercise helps reduce and eliminate love handles.

1. Definition

So-called love handles are deposits of adipose, or fat, tissue that collect around the waist, usually on its sides, above the abdominal oblique muscles. Genetics and age help determine where the body stores excess fat. Some women build up fat in the hips and thighs, and others tend to thicken up in the torso region. Approaching menopause redistributes fat from hips and limbs to the torso in some women.

2. Significance

Adding on extra weight affects more than just the way a person looks. Love handles indicate excess body fat, and burning off that excess fat is key in eliminating the bulges. Even though crunches alone do not melt away love handles, exercises that target specific muscles in the midsection do firm and tone the region, and any increased muscle mass gained from weight training boosts metabolism and speeds weight loss.

3. Types

One of the biggest challenges in doing exercises designed to help trim waistlines and eliminate love handles is doing them correctly. Some abdominal crunches done incorrectly can actually hurt more than they help. Personal trainers advise novices how to efficiently use exercise to reshape a body, and free website advice abounds--but basically, any exercises that work out the core abdominal muscles and the external muscles such as the obliques help streamline silhouettes Exercises that rely on gravity only for resistance are useful--adding weight resistance to abdominal workouts might build unwanted bulk. Old-fashioned exercises such as standing upright and touching toes with the opposite hand gently exercise areas around the waist. Exercise websites offer new and exotic exercises promising miraculous results, but any low-impact repetitive and correctly performed exercise works.

4. Effects

One effect of exercise is toned and firm muscle mass. The exercises themselves do not dissolve fat but must be done in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise in order to burn excess calories. When energy expended exceeds the calories taken in, the body burns fat to make up for the difference. When fat disappears, so do the love handles. Burning of fat takes time and patience, as well as dedication to healthy eating and portion control. Focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding salty, fatty or processed foods is a good way to improve overall health.

5. Misconceptions

No one exercise can specifically eliminate fat in one area of the body. Exercise as part of an overall weight reduction program is effective in losing fat all over the body. Although love handles might be the stubborn holdouts and the last to disappear, they are no match for steady weight loss and increased physical activity.

Photo Credits

  • girl exercise in health club image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com