Love handles slowly creep up on us as we gain weight and age. Also known as muffin top, love handles are stubborn and can be a challenge to shed. Express.co.uk consulted the experts to find out the best exercises to try at home to get rid of love handles.
What causes love handles?
The main cause of love handles is fat retention.
Fat retention happens when your body takes in too many calories or you don’t burn as many calories as you are consuming.
If you keep these habits up you will notice fat cells accumulating in certain areas of your body.
Fat can gather like this anywhere on your body, but there are certain factors that increase the likelihood of it gathering around your hips and waist.
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According to Healthline, factors that contribute to love handle formation include:
• hormones, especially too much cortisol
• age (belly fat accumulation is particularly common as you get older)
• lack of physical activity
• diet high in fats, sugars, and high-calorie foods
• sleep deprivation
• undiagnosed or untreated conditions that slow down your metabolism (hypothyroidism — or underactive thyroid — for example, makes it difficult to burn off extra calories)
Love handles: You need to do cardio and weight lifting to burn fat
The best exercises for love handles
People tend to exhaust themselves with crunches and sit ups to get rid of love handles, but fat reduction can’t be achieved with targeted exercises alone.
These exercises are great for helping you build muscle and become more flexible, but they won’t get rid of fat.
To get rid of love handles, you need to combine cardiovascular exercises with weight lifting.
Good examples of cardiovascular exercises include walking, cycling, swimming, and running.
Studies have found that to lose love handles, you may need to do up to five hours of exercise a week.
Don’t forget to eat less calories than you are burning, and eat a balanced diet.
Once you’ve got your fat-loss exercises on lock, it’s time to add some exercises to target your abs, hips, and waist.
The experts at Healthline have given five examples, and if you do these as often as you can you will see results.
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Start by lying on your side. Prop yourself up on one arm: Your elbow should be in line with your shoulder; your forearm should be flat against the ground, at a right angle to your body.
Stack your legs, one on top of the other, so that your body forms a straight line from head to hip. With your knee still touching the ground, raise your hips.
Squeeze your glutes (gluteus muscles) and hold the move for 30 seconds to a minute.
While doing the move, focus on keeping your abs tight to help support your body. Switch sides and repeat.
If you want something a little harder, try raising your knees off the ground so that the only parts of your body touching the ground are the side of your foot and your forearm.
Love handles: Try these exercises to lose love handles
Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your knees bent.
Lift your shoulders and head off the ground as you engage your abs.
At the same time, lift your feet off the ground, keeping your knees bent, so that your shins are parallel to the ground.
Slowly twist your body so that your left elbow moves toward your right knee. As you twist your body, extend your left leg straight out in front of you.
Slowly twist in the other direction, bring your left leg back to its bent position, with your right elbow moving toward your left knee.
As you twist your body, extend your right leg out in front of you.
Do 15 to 30 repetitions.
Start in a seated position on the floor with your butt on the ground, your knees bent, and your feet flat on the floor.
Tightening your abdomen, lean your torso back so that you’re at about a 45-degree angle to the floor.
If you’re not using a weight, clasp your hands together. If you’re using a weight, hold it in your hands, just above your abdomen.
Still with knees bent, lift your feet off the ground so that you’re balancing on your butt.
For additional support, you can cross your ankles.
Twist your torso to the right, bringing your clasped hands or your weight to the right side of your body.
Twist to the left, touching the weight or your hands to the left side of your body.
Repeat for 30 seconds to a minute.
Start in a plank position. To get into a plank position, lie flat on the floor, face down.
Place your hands underneath your shoulders, curl your toes so that they’re pressing into the floor, and push up.
Your arms should be straight, but not locked, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your toes.
Lift your right foot off of the ground and pull your right knee toward your left elbow. Keep your abs tight.
Hold the move briefly, and then return your foot to its original position.
Repeat on the other side.
Continue this move for 30 seconds to a minute.
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent, your arms at your sides, and your palms flat against the floor.
Slowly lift your butt and lower back off the floor to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
Squeeze your glutes together and hold for up to 30 seconds, or until you feel your abs and glutes sagging, whichever happens first.
Slowly release your muscles and lower yourself back down to the ground. Repeat 10 times.