Belly fat – no one wants it, but it is a huge problem in America. The associated health risks to being overweight or obese seem to grow every year, just like our waistlines, and when it comes to belly fat, shedding those extra pounds will not only help you look better; it will also keep you healthier!
More than Skin Deep
When we talk about belly fat, you may think of the fat on your stomach that you’re pinching between your fingers – that’s subcutaneous fat. However, belly fat is so much more. We’re talking about fat that goes deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs – visceral fat.
If you have a lot of subcutaneous fat, chances are you have a lot of visceral fat too. The best way to check is by measuring your waist. Stand up straight against a wall and measure your waist just above your hipbones. For normal-sized women, a measurement of 35 inches or more is considered too much. For men, a measurement of 40 inches or more is a cause for concern.
Lose the Fat and Gain Your Health
Scientists are still learning how certain substances, secreted by abdominal fat cells, can harm your body. Research shows extra belly fat means an increased risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, diabetes, dementia and cancer – just to name a few. The good news is that when you decrease your belly fat, you also begin to decrease the associated health risks.
Saying Bye-Bye to Your Belly
Did you know that aerobic exercise burns nearly 70 percent more calories than resistance weight training? A recent Duke University study shows it’s true.
“Resistance training is great for improving strength and increasing lean body mass,” study author Dr. Cris Slentz, an exercise physiologist at Duke University, said in a written statement. “But if you are overweight, which two thirds of the population is, and you want to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the better choice because it burns more calories,”
But exercise is just one of the key ingredients. To lose belly fat (and keep it off), you need to combine aerobic exercise with a healthy diet. So, check back next week for our Enjoy or Avoid segment! We will talk about the foods you can enjoy and the foods you should avoid to get your tummy toned and flat.