Women: Do You Have The Belly Blues?
By Gloria Kamil
Gloria Kamil, longtime OPEN EXCHANGE lister, offers Practical Strength Training For Women and a special Outdoor Fitness Boot Camp.
Do you have the belly blues? Are you always saying? "If only I could lose this stomach?" Does your belly determine what clothes you will wear most days? If so you have the belly blues. As a holistic fitness professional, this is the Number One complaint I hear from all women, whether they are 13 or 70.
Gaining weight in the abdomen affects all of us at some point in our lives, whether it's from over eating, inactivity, hormonal, age-related (metabolism), age or heredity. And abdominal fat doesn't necessarily show up on the bathroom scale.
There are two types of fat: subcutaneous and visceral. Subcutaneous fat is found underneath the skin and causes dimpling and cellulite. Visceral fat deposits itself in the abdomen and is linked to hypertension, bad cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer. This type of fat is most harmful to your body. In a study published in 2004 in the New England Journal of Medicine, doctors found that liposuction, which removes only subcutaneous fat, does not improve overall health. Making healthy food choices and quality exercise are what you need to remove visceral fat and improve overall health.
The best and most sensible way to lose unwanted and unhealthy belly fat is to eat close to nature as possible and to exercise at least 45 60 minutes 6 7 day a week. Eating close to nature means eliminating or limiting your intake of processed or fast foods, while increasing your intake of fresh vegetables, tart fruits, lean meats and fish. This is your first line of defense against belly fat.
Exercise is the best way to expedite visceral fat. It responds very well to exercise that is moderate to high intensity such as jogging 17 20 miles a week that's about 2.5 3 miles daily or any other form of aerobic exercise that will be its equivalent Weight training 3 4 days a week is of equal importance when battling the belly blues because the more muscle you have the more body fat you will burn.
Target tummy exercises can help firm up your abdominal muscles but you cannot "spot burn" belly fat. Your traditional sit-up is not the most effective way to tone and flatten your belly. You must target the deep internal abdominal muscles with exercises that will draw in the belly button. "Abdominal hollowing" is a great exercise for beginners. Get down on your hands and knees. Let your belly hang down as you inhale through your nose and gently and consciously pull your belly button inward and upward toward your spine as you are exhaling from your mouth making an audible force exhalation such as shhhsh sound through your mouth you should feel a tightening around your waist and below your navel as if you was trying to squeeze into the tight jeans that you can no longer zip or button. Hold each rep for at least 10 seconds in, do 10 15 repetitions for 3 sets. During each repetition your spine should not change; keep your back flat.
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