I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a gym to see people feverishly working their abs. And nine out of ten times, it is someone who has a significant amount of fat in the abdomen. My impression is that they are working their abs in an attempt to spot reduce. However, most people fail to realize that you can’t spot reduce. Spot reduction refers to the fallacy that fat can be targeted for reduction from a specific area of the body through the exercise of specific muscles in the desired area, such as exercising the abdominal muscles, in an effort to lose weight in or around one’s midsection. Advertisers exploit this concept when advertising exercise-related products.
Additionally, muscle growth in the abdominal region does not reduce fat in that area. No matter how many crunches you do, you won’t see a significant reduction in your gut and body fat content unless you undertake a complete exercise and weight control regimen.
Reducing body fat is critically important for seniors, particularly men, who tend to see more fat around the waist as they get older. Reducing body fat, in general, can shave anywhere from 5 to 20 points off your systolic blood pressure (the higher number).
Regardless of your overall weight, having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Colorectal cancer
- Sleep apnea
- High blood pressure
If you want to see that waistline go down, consider these steps:
- Eat plenty of soluble fiber
- Avoid foods that contain saturated and trans fats
- Limit alcohol consumption ( I know…this is a big one!)
- Eat a high-protein diet
- Reduce your stress levels
- Limit foods and drinks high in sugar
- Do cardiovascular (aerobic) training
- Perform weight-training exercises for the entire body
- Get plenty of sleep
So, the next time you’re in the gym, perform a more well-rounded routine that’s a combination of resistance and aerobic training. When combined with the lifestyle changes noted above, you’ll start to see some real results around the midsection.