Several medical studies note the importance of losing inches around the waist over just losing weight. They’ve found it’s far more unhealthy to carry belly fat than it is to have fat deposited just under the skin.
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Risk of Weight around the Waist
Visceral fat — body fat stored within the abdominal cavity and around internal organs such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines — increases risks of several health problems, including Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and sleep problems.
This kind of fat within the abdominal cavity also provokes inflammation, which leads to additional health problems and makes it even more troublesome.
What is a Healthy Waist Circumference?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one way to estimate your potential disease risk is to measure your waist circumference rather than overall weight.
- A man’s waist circumference to be below 40 inches.
- A non-pregnant woman’s waist circumference to be under 35 inches.
If your waist measurements are above the CDC recommendations, you may be at greater risk for obesity-related conditions, such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
How to Measure Waist Circumference
Follow these instructions to properly measure waist circumference. If you are concerned, we advise consulting your doctor for a professional health assessment.
Source: CDC Assessing Your Weigh
Best Exercises to Reduce Belly Fat
Aerobic exercises, such as walking and swimming, and exercises that target the stomach are best for reducing belly fat. Do a combination of both for quicker results, variety, and more fun!
Target the stomach. Pilates, yoga and chair exercises are low impact and target the core. Try aquatic pilates and yoga in a pool to add water resistance and for a cool activity during the summer.
Aerobics and cardio. Endurance exercises that get the heart rate up, whether walking, cycling, swimming or aquatic classes, burn fat and trim the stomach. The CDC recommends at least 2 ½ hours of moderately intense aerobic activity per week for older adults.
Another great way to start exercising is by joining a fitness center with classes targeted for those aged 55+. Ask a friend to join you or expand your social circle by meeting new friends in a fitness class!
What to Eat to Lose Inches Off Your Stomach
Avoid sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks. Studies have shown that excess sugar, mostly due to large amounts of fructose, can lead to increased fat around the belly. Swap sugary treats and drinks for whole fruits, which are naturally sweet and high in fiber without the added fructose. Source: Visceral Adiposity and Lipids study.
Cut carbs. Studies comparing low-carb diets and low-fat diets show low-carb diets more effectively target fat around the belly, organs, and liver. Limit refined carbs, such as bread and pasta, and instead, enjoy healthier carbs like whole-wheat pasta, barley, oatmeal, and quinoa. Source: Nutrition and Metabolism study.
Eat more protein. Protein not only fills you up and boost metabolism, but it’s also effective against belly fat. People who ate more and better protein had much less belly fat, while one study specifically linked protein to a reduced risk of belly fat gain over a five-year period. Add more high-protein foods, such as eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy products, into your diet. Source: NCBI Waist Circumference study.
Add fiber-rich foods. A study linked eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day to a 3.7% reduction of fat in the abdominal cavity. Add fiber to your diet by eating a lot of plant foods likes fruits, vegetables, legumes and oats. You could also add a fiber supplement to your diet. Always consult with your doctor before taking supplements.Source: Lifestyle and Abdominal Fat study.
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