Hi, I'm Dr. Bianca!


I’m a menopausal woman. I write about what it's like to get through the hormonal transition we’ve come to know as menopause. My intent is to help us all age together in the best and healthiest way possible. Let’s not suffer in silence. Let’s normalize the conversation. 





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Move over fad programs...if you are 50 or over and are looking to lose the bulge, there are four best types of exercises to lose belly fat that are scientifically proven

Over-exercising or doing too much of the same routine can actually keep you from losing weight. 

In fact, it can cause you to keep belly fat on! 

Incorporating the right exercises into your weekly exercise routine can make a significant difference! 

When it comes to targeting belly fat, there are four effective exercise types that are backed by scientific research and tons of data...enough to hopefully make you want to try at least one (although all 4 types dispersed throughout your week will result in faster and more lasting results!).

  • Zone 2 "fat burning" aerobics
  • Sprint interval training
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Heavy strength training 

So, get ready to sweat, burn calories, and say goodbye to unwanted belly fat!

This post is about using 4 proven exercise types to lose belly fat in women over 50.

Zone 2: Fat Burn Aerobic Training

Zone 2 fat burning aerobic training has emerged as a scientifically proven method to effectively reduce belly fat in women over 50.

This training zone, typically defined as working at a moderate intensity where you can comfortably carry on a conversation, allows the body to tap into fat stores as a primary source of fuel.

By engaging in prolonged zone 2 aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, women over 50 can stimulate the metabolism and target stubborn belly fat.

However, over-exercising or consistently doing the same types of movements aka 'training the grey zone' actually causes the opposite to occur...it prevents fat loss. 

This method promotes a higher percentage of fat burning, including the reduction of abdominal fat, which is particularly significant for women experiencing hormonal changes during menopause.

health advantages of zone 2 aerobic conditioning

Beyond melting away the abdominal fat, zone 2 aerobic conditioning has numerous health advantages: 

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases: Zone 2 aerobic conditioning improves heart health and lowers the risk of heart diseases (FYI: heart attacks are the #1 killer of menopausal women)
  • Improved respiratory function: Regular aerobic training enhances lung capacity and promotes better respiratory function.
  • Enhanced metabolic efficiency: Zone 2 training optimizes the body's ability to efficiently use oxygen, leading to improved metabolic function.
  • Increased endurance: Aerobic conditioning in zone 2 improves overall endurance, allowing for longer durations of physical activity. The heart becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping blood to the muscles. This increased blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles, allowing them to sustain activity for longer periods without fatigue.
  • Lower blood pressure: Zone 2 training can help lower high blood pressure and improve overall blood circulation.
  • Enhanced mood and mental well-being: Aerobic conditioning releases endorphins, promoting a positive mood and reducing stress levels.
  • Boosted immune system: Regular aerobic exercise strengthens the immune system, reducing the risk of illness and disease.
  • Improved sleep quality: Zone 2 training promotes better sleep patterns.
  • Increased energy levels: Engaging in zone 2 aerobic conditioning regularly boosts energy levels and reduces feelings of fatigue.

Boost your Metabolism with Zone 2 Conditioning

Zone 2 training helps your body become better at using oxygen, which improves how your metabolism works. 

During this type of exercise, your body learns to efficiently break down carbohydrates and fats for energy using oxygen. 

As you continue with zone 2 training, your body adapts by increasing the number of mitochondria, which are like tiny energy factories in your cells. 

This adaptation allows your body to use oxygen more effectively, resulting in better metabolism.

Sprint Interval Training To Lose Belly Fat

Sprint interval training (SIT) is a highly effective exercise method for promoting fat loss in menopause. 

This type of training involves short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest or low-intensity recovery

SIT has been found to have significant metabolic benefits, especially for women going through menopause. 

The high-intensity nature of sprints stimulates the release of hormones that promote fat burning and boost metabolism. 

It also triggers an afterburn effect known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where the body continues to burn calories even after the workout is complete. 

Moreover, SIT helps preserve muscle mass, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy metabolism and preventing age-related muscle loss. 

By incorporating sprint interval training into your fitness routine, you can maximize fat loss and improve your overall body composition.

Scientific BackIng Using SIT Activities to lose belly fat

Multiple studies have supported the effectiveness of sprint interval training in promoting fat loss during menopause. 

In a recent publication in the Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology , researchers found that women who engaged in regular sprint intervals experienced significant reductions in body fat percentage, including abdominal fat, compared to those who followed traditional aerobic exercise programs. 

Another study published in Menopause demonstrated that sprint interval training was particularly effective in reducing visceral fat, the deep belly fat associated with increased health risks. 

The intensity and short duration of sprint intervals make this training method a time-efficient option for menopausal women who may have limited time or reduced exercise tolerance. 

By incorporating sprint interval training into your fitness regimen, you can experience enhanced fat loss and enjoy the numerous health benefits associated with improved body composition.

Note: Remember, it's essential to listen to your body and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the intervals as you progress.

How to perform a SIT workout on a treadmill

Treadmill Intervals:
  • Start with a brisk walk for 2 minutes to warm up.
  • Increase the speed to a comfortable jogging pace and sprint for 30 seconds.
  • Reduce the speed to a brisk walk or slow jog for 1 minute to recover.
  • Repeat the sprint and recovery cycle for a total of 10 minutes.
  • As you progress, you can increase the sprint duration to 45 seconds or even 1 minute.

How to perform a SIT workout on a Spin Bike

  • Begin with a light pedaling warm-up for 3 minutes.
  • Increase the resistance or speed and sprint at maximum effort for 20 seconds.
  • Reduce the resistance or speed to a comfortable pace for 40 seconds to recover.
  • Repeat the sprint and recovery cycle for a total of 15 minutes.
  • Feel free to adjust the sprint and recovery durations based on your fitness level and comfort.
  • How to perform a SIT workout on a Track

  • Start with a gentle jog or brisk walk for 5 minutes to warm up.
  • Choose a straight section of the track and sprint at your maximum effort for 100 meters.
  • Slow down to a walk or light jog for 200 meters to recover.
  • Repeat the sprint and recovery cycle for a total of 8-10 laps.
  • Modify the distance of the sprint and recovery intervals based on your fitness level and preferences.
  • High Intensity Interval Training

    High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a highly effective exercise method for promoting fat loss in menopause.

    A  HIIT workout is a form of exercise that alternates between short, intense bursts of activity and brief recovery periods.

    It is designed to maximize calorie burn, improve cardiovascular fitness, and promote fat loss.

    HIIT workouts can be tailored to individual preferences and fitness levels, allowing for flexibility and variety in the exercises performed.

    Examples of HIIT Workouts

    • Circuit Training: This involves performing a series of exercises, targeting different muscle groups, with minimal rest in between. 
    • Combine bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, burpees, and jumping jacks into a circuit. Perform each exercise for a set duration (e.g., 30 seconds), followed by a short rest, before moving on to the next exercise.
    • Tabata Training: Tabata is a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that follows a specific protocol. It was developed by Japanese researcher Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. Tabata training consists of short bursts of intense exercise (20 sec) followed by brief periods of rest (10 sec).
    • 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 4 minutes. It can be done with exercises like squats, lunges, mountain climbers, or even using equipment like kettlebells or battle ropes.
    • Cardio HIIT: This involves performing cardiovascular exercises like cycling, rowing, or jumping rope at a high intensity for a specific time period, followed by a recovery phase of lower intensity or complete rest.
    • Jumping Jacks Cardio HIIT
      • Set 1: Perform jumping jacks at a high intensity for 30 seconds, giving it your all and moving as quickly as possible.
      • Rest: Take a 15-second rest period, allowing your heart rate to come down slightly.
      • Set 2: Repeat the jumping jacks for another 30 seconds.
      • Rest: Rest for 15 seconds.
      • Set 3: Perform jumping jacks for 30 seconds once again.
      • Rest: Take a 15-second rest.
      • Set 4: Complete the final round of jumping jacks for 30 seconds.

    Heavy Strength Training

    Heavy strength training, also known as resistance training or weightlifting, plays a crucial role in aiding fat loss for women going through menopause. 

    Contrary to popular belief, heavy strength training will not bulk you up; instead, it helps to build lean muscle mass, which is highly beneficial for weight management. 

    As women age and experience hormonal changes during menopause, they tend to lose muscle mass, which can lead to a slower metabolism and increased fat storage. 

    By incorporating heavy strength training into their fitness routine, women can counteract these effects and achieve better weight loss results.

    How Strength Training can help you lose belly fat

    According to Stacy Sims, a renowned PhD in exercise physiology and nutritional science, heavy strength training is particularly effective for menopausal women.

    When you lift heavy weights, your body is challenged to recruit more muscle fibers and exert greater force, which in turn leads to greater energy expenditure and increased muscle growth

    This is crucial for menopausal women as it helps to maintain and build lean muscle mass, which has a higher metabolic rate than fat. 

    The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest, making it easier to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. 

    Additionally, heavy strength training stimulates the production of growth hormone, which further aids in fat loss and muscle preservation. 

    Incorporating compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and rows into your strength training routine can provide significant benefits in terms of fat loss and overall body composition during menopause.

    Examples of Strength Training Workouts

    • Barbell Squats
      • Start with a warm-up set using a lighter weight to prepare your body.
      • Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions with a challenging weight. Make sure to maintain proper form, keeping your back straight and core engaged.
      • Focus on lowering yourself down into a squat position, keeping your knees aligned with your toes, and pushing through your heels to rise back up.
    • Deadlifts
      • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbells in front of your thighs.
      • Perform 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
      • Keep your back straight, engage your core, and lower the weight by bending at the hips and knees.
      • Push through your heels to lift the weight back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.


    In conclusion, when it comes to losing belly fat for women over 50, a well-rounded approach that combines various types of exercises is key. 

    By incorporating a combination of zone 2 fat burning aerobic training, sprint interval training, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and heavy strength training, you can maximize your results and achieve your weight loss goals

    These workouts promote muscle preservation and overall body toning.

    Remember, consistency, proper form, and progression are key to success.

    Combine these exercises with a healthy and balanced diet to optimize your belly fat loss journey. 

    With dedication, determination, and the right combination of exercises, you can achieve a stronger, healthier, and more confident version of yourself even after 50.

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    4 Best Types of Exercises to Lose Belly Fat After 50 (According to a DPT)

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    May 21, 2023


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    Dr. Bianca Beldini

    I’m your Doctor of Physical Therapy, Acupuncturist, Master Dry Needler, and Triathlon and Running Coach. I’ve been in the health, wellness and fitness industry for over 25 years, and I’m here to help you reach your optimal health.