Can abs machines aid weight loss?

Q: I have been using a machine that focuses mainly on the abs to lose weight. However, I have not been able to reduce my hips and thighs. Could you tell me what the best exercises are to reduce these areas?

A: A big misconception about abdominal machines is that they’ll help you lose weight. But the truth is, you burn very few calories – the key to losing weight – while doing these types of exercise. To lose weight or reduce areas like your hips and thighs, you need to do aerobic exercises like walking, running, swimming or cycling. These activities work the large muscles of the body and burn several hundred calories an hour. That, in addition to a low-fat, healthy diet, is the key to burning of excess fat

That’s not to say that exercises targeting specific body parts are useless – they just serve a different purpose. Exercises like ab crunches, push-ups, leg-lifts and those using weights, such as biceps curls or bench presses, work to strengthen and build muscles. They don’t burn many calories while you’re doing them, so they do little to get rid of the fat that’s covering your muscles. However, building more muscle will help you burn more calories all day long – even when you’re sleeping – because muscle is more active than fat. And that will help you to slim down and stay that way.

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