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10 Best Exercises for Seniors To Lose Belly Fat

Kick belly fat to the curb with these trainer-approved moves.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

As you age, it's totally normal to accumulate some extra padding around your midsection. But that doesn't mean carrying around extra belly flab isn't frustrating or challenging. Fortunately, we're here to help. If you're an older adult looking to shed unwanted belly fat, you're in the right place. We chatted with Rachel MacPherson, CPT, an ACE-certified personal trainer with Garage Gym Reviews, who shares the 10 best exercises for seniors to lose belly fat.

Belly fat, or visceral fat, can be particularly stubborn and harmful to your health. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, excess abdominal fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. The risk increases with a waist circumference exceeding 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men. The good news is that by incorporating the following exercises into your workout routine, you can slim down your waistline and boost overall health and fitness.

However, MacPherson reminds us that you can't spot target fat loss from one specific area of your body. She says, "While no exercise can target belly fat specifically, there are some that will help burn calories or help strengthen and tighten the abdominal muscles for a more slim appearance."

Keep reading for detailed breakdowns of each exercise. And when you're finished, don't miss The 10 Worst Habits for Belly Fat.

High Knee Marches

The high knee march is a low-impact cardio exercise that can help you lose belly fat by engaging your core and lower-body muscles.

"Stand tall and bring one knee at a time toward your chest while swinging the opposite arm forward to the shoulder level," MacPherson explains. "Focus on keeping your spine neutral, without tucking or arching, and keep your hips square. To make it more challenging, pick up the pace and aim to do 30 reps in total."

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Roll Out on an Exercise Ball

This core-strengthening exercise targets those abdominal muscles hidden under the flab while engaging the shoulders, arms, and back.

"Roll-outs are highly effective for strengthening your core muscles, including the rectus abdominis (commonly known as the six-pack muscles) and the deep core muscles that act as a girdle to tighten and strengthen your core. By doing roll-outs, you can prevent your hips and back from becoming imbalanced or painful and help keep your core tight and flat," says MacPherson.

To perform this move, get down on the floor in front of an exercise ball within arm's reach. Rest your forearms on top of the ball, ensuring that your elbows are bent and your body is straight. Use your core muscles to keep your body stable as you roll the ball away from you slowly while straightening your torso. Then, roll the ball back toward you while contracting your core muscles to bring the ball back to the starting position. Repeat this motion for three sets of 10 to 20 reps, resting for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Pallof Press

"The Pallof press is a type of isometric contraction and anti-rotation exercise," MacPherson explains. "To perform it, you need to resist a rotational pull by utilizing your core muscles. This exercise helps activate and strengthen the deep core muscles, which keeps your tummy pulled in. A strong core provides numerous other health benefits like better stability and reduced risk of back pain and falls."

Stand sideways to a cable machine or a resistance band anchored firmly at chest height, and engage your core muscles. Grab the handles with both hands, and push them out in front of you. Your core muscles will work to prevent you from rotating back toward the machine. Hold the contraction, and release slowly. Aim to do three sets of 10 to 12 reps per side with 60 to 90 seconds of rest between sets.

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Dead Bug

dead bug

Dead bugs are a unique core exercise that works those abdominal muscles while engaging the hip flexors.

To perform this exercise, MacPherson says, "Lie on the floor with your back flat and your knees bent over your hips to form an upside-down "L" shape. Keep your core braced. Then, stretch one arm straight over your head, and extend the opposite leg forward, keeping it off the floor. Bring your arm and leg back to the starting position, and repeat the same movement on the other side." Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps per side, and rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.



Squats are a classic lower-body compound exercise that targets the muscles of the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They also engage the core muscles, making them an excellent exercise for burning calories and toning the midsection. "Squats are a full-body exercise that builds muscle to boost your metabolism and burns calories to help beat belly fat," states MacPherson.

To do this move, get into a shoulder-width stance and point your toes outward slightly. Ensure your posture is correct by engaging your core muscles and keeping your chest up while looking straight ahead. Hinge your hips, and bend your knees toward your toes to lower yourself. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor or you've reached your mobility limit, push through your feet to stand back up. Aim for three sets of 10 to 12 reps with 60 to 90 seconds of rest between sets.

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Bodyweight Lunges

lunges exercise

"Lunges are a type of exercise that engages the large muscles in your lower body, helping you burn a significant amount of calories while building muscle," says MacPherson. "They can be done in multiple directions, including forwards, backward, sideways, and diagonally, which allows you to work your muscles, balance, and stability in different planes of motion. This can also reduce your risk of falling or getting injured as you age."

To perform a lunge, take a big step forward while making sure that your other foot stays in place. Keep your back straight and your chest lifted. Bend your front knee to lower yourself toward the ground. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps per leg. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

Suitcase Carry

"The suitcase carry is a great exercise for strengthening your abdominals. It involves carrying a load on one side of your body and is a functional movement that can improve your daily activities. Doing this exercise will activate your deep core muscles while burning calories through walking with a heavy load," says MacPherson.

Begin by holding a dumbbell in your right hand with an overhand grip, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your core braced and your shoulders back. Then, take slow and steady steps forward while contracting your core and keeping your hips level. This will help you resist the pull of the weight on one side. Walk for a set distance, then turn around to return to the starting point. Once you reach the starting point, switch hands, and repeat the exercise on the other side. Repeat this three times, resting for 90 seconds between rounds.

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Kettlebell Around-the-Worlds

kettlebell around the world standing ab exercises

This dynamic core exercise targets your obliques (side abs) to help tighten your midsection and shrink your waistline.

"Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a kettlebell in front of your lower abdomen with both hands, using an overhand grip," explains MacPherson. "Make sure to keep your posture tall and your core braced. Next, pass the kettlebell around your body, switching between hands in the front and the back of your body." Complete three rounds of 15 to 20 passes with 60 to 90 seconds of rest.

Gentle Burpee

Gentle burpees are a modified version of the traditional burpee exercise that is easier on the joints. They're a fantastic option for older adults looking to shed belly fat since they can boost cardiovascular fitness, strength, and endurance all at once.

MacPherson tells us, "Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Then, bend your knees, and place your palms on the floor. Step one foot at a time back until you are in a plank position with your shoulders on top of your wrists. Make sure your shoulder blades are nice and wide, but don't squeeze them together, and engage your core. From the plank position, step one foot at a time outside your hands, and lift yourself by straightening your legs. Bring your arms overhead, and lift your heels." Repeat this sequence 10 times for three sets. Rest for 90 seconds between rounds.

Brisk Walking

woman walking

Simple yet highly effective, brisk walking is a low-impact cardio exercise that can help burn calories, promote weight loss, and enhance cardiovascular health.

"Perform moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days a week at the minimum, to lose belly fat," says MacPherson. "Brisk walking is a fantastic way to burn calories and boost your metabolism, improve blood sugar, reduce stress, and fight belly fat."

Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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