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In our never-ending quest to lose the belly fat, many of us will come across the old adage that running is the Holy Grail we’ve been looking for. So instead of doing 300 crunches every night, should you be running around the block instead? Is running good for reducing inches around the waist? We went straight to the experts in order to get a more comprehensive answer.

According to Lauren Lobert, DPT, OMPT, CSCS, and owner of APEX Physical Therapy, running is a great way to burn calories, but “you can’t spot-train fat loss. You cannot choose where you lose your fat when you lose weight. It doesn’t matter if you only do crunches — if you’re prone to belly fat, then you will likely lose it from that area last.” She advises that in relation to physical activities, “strength training is actually the best way to change your body composition, as your metabolic rate will be increased for two to three days after lifting weights. It will also cause you to gain muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest.”

But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the virtues of running completely. Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author of The Magnesium Miracle, explains to POPSUGAR that “running can stimulate the metabolism, which is needed to burn fat, and running also burns calories, so if your intake of calories is less than the amount you are burning through running, you will lose belly fat.” However, she advocates the importance of nutrition when trying to reduce belly fat. Dr. Dean recommends “a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet along with proper hydration and proper mineral intake” to play a crucial role in eliminating inches from the waistline. By following a keto-like diet of restricting carbs and increasing high-quality fats, the body will “use up carbohydrate stores of sugar called glycogen, and then turn on the fat-burning process to burn excess body fat cells as energy.”

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