A person may be able to reduce hip fat through diet and exercise. Other factors, such as stress and hormones, may also contribute to weight gain.
It is not possible to reduce hip fat on its own. However, if a person desires to lose excess hip fat, it can help to examine their diet and exercise routine, as changes to these can reduce overall body fat.
Toning up and building muscle through specific lower body exercises may also help reduce hip fat.
This article looks at exercises, dietary changes, and other factors that may help a person reduce hip fat.
Having an exercise routine can help a person maintain a healthy weight.
If someone has a health condition or is undergoing medical treatment, they should consult a doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provide science-based guidance to help people improve their health through regular physical activity.
For adults, the guidelines recommend moving more and sitting less throughout the day.
They also recommend doing 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75–150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. A person should spread this throughout the week.
Also, on 2 or more days per week, a person should perform muscle-strengthening activities. These provide additional health benefits.
The following lower body exercises may help strengthen muscles and reduce hip fat.
A person can do them at home or the gym, with or without weights. Some people use cannonball-shaped weights called kettlebells.
In order to safely do a squat, a person should stand with their feet shoulder-width apart. The feet should face forward and the hands should be stretching out in front of the body.
Lower the body as if sitting down, but not so low that it feels uncomfortable.
After slowly rising, repeat the squat 8–10 times.
Stand up straight, with the feet together.
Take a step forward and slowly bend the knees until the legs are at right angles. Push back up to resume the starting position.
Repeat the lunge 8–10 times, then switch sides, so that the other leg comes forward.
Leg raises while lying on the side
Lie on the right side of the body, with the right knee bent 90 degrees. Keep the left leg straight, so that it is aligned with the back.
Raise the left leg as far as is comfortable, then slowly lower it.
Repeat the process 8–10 times, then swap sides.
High-intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves alternating short sessions of higher-intensity exercise with short recovery periods.
A 2017 review compared the effects of HIIT and moderate-intensity continuous training on body composition in adults with overweight or obesity.
The researchers found that both methods helped reduce whole-body fat mass and waist circumference. On average, exercise sessions took place three times a week for 10 weeks.
Although the results were similar, HIIT required 40% less time commitment than the other method of training.
Diet and nutrition may also help with the reduction of hip fat.
Some people try various diets to lose body fat. Some well-known examples include diets that are:
- low in carbohydrates
- otherwise restrictive of calories
Research from the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that a wide range of dietary approaches have similar effects.
Overall, each diet has its own strengths and weaknesses, and a person should consult a doctor before making any very significant dietary changes.
Also, it is important to note that there has been little research into the effects of these diets on females and older adults.
In general, people can follow a healthful diet, and help maintain a healthy weight, by:
- including whole foods
- eating plenty of plant-based foods
- reducing sugar, including sugar from sweetened drinks
- limiting processed foods
- being aware of portion size
- limiting alcohol
Also, a growing body of research indicates that the bacteria in a person’s gut play a role in body weight and fat mass.
Both diet and a person’s genes can influence the composition of these bacteria. To help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, it may help to consume a high fiber diet.
A range of additional factors may affect a person’s weight and the amount of body fat.
A 6-month study in adults indicates that chronic stress and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol are predictive of greater weight gain.
Other research suggests that there may be a link between the duration of sleep and obesity.
Some studies have investigated this association in specific groups. In people going through menopause, for example, a decline in estrogen can cause symptoms that disrupt sleep, such as hot flashes.
Research indicates that less sleep during menopause can contribute to changes in mood, food intake, alcohol consumption, and activity levels — all of which may affect weight and fat distribution.
Although it is not possible to reduce hip fat on its own, reducing overall body fat can have this effect.
In addition, lower body exercises can tone and build muscle, which may help in reducing hip fat.
A person’s diet, their activity levels, the amount and quality of sleep, and stress can also contribute to body fat.