As summer heat is continuing in our area, many of us try to keep cool by wearing skimpy outfits. Unfortunately, sometimes they reveal more that we care to show – for example, a “spare tire” around the middle.
Whether we call it “muffin top,” “beer belly,” or – incredibly – “love handles,” fact is that accumulation of fat around the midriff is no laughing matter. Belly and waistline fat is not only unsightly, but it can also be harmful to our health.
In fact, various studies, including a recent one by the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk, show that excess abdominal fat increases our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hardening of the arteries, as well as various types of cancers.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce belly fat or – even better – eliminate it altogether. It’s a matter of changing your eating habits, as well as doing specific types of exercises that deflate, rather than inflate, that spare tire.
One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who regularly eat processed foods put three times more weight around their waistline than those who consume less refined alternatives that are rich in grains and fiber – for example brown rice instead of white. Sugary desserts and sodas are also to be avoided.
A controlled-calorie diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean meat or fish, combined with regular physical exercise, will not only help reduce fat deposits around the midsection, but also help you maintain a healthy overall weight.
What workouts will trim waistlines and flatten tummies most effectively?
A study done several years ago at San Diego State University compared 13 common abdominal exercises to see which ones give best results.
The bicycle crunch and ‘captain’s chair’ got top ratings for tightening major abdominal muscle groups. However, there is a wide range of other exercises a fitness instructor can show you, which, if performed correctly and regularly, will tone your abs and trim the fat.
The most important thing, is to be pro-active about reducing the midsection fat deposits, not only so you can look great, but, above all, to prevent some very serious diseases.