Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Losing Abdominal Fat

Losing Abdominal Fat
By Eileen Gravelle

Losing Abdominal FatIt's a sad fact that, as we age, many of us find ourselves carrying an increased amount of abdominal fat. If you want to do something about it - then here's some facts you really ought to know before you start.

1. Abdominal fat is often the last fat you'll lose
Fat doesn't just get stored any where in our bodies - the pattern of fat storage is genetically wired into our systems. Our bodies store fat in order to help us survive famine - maybe not much of a need now but it was probably very useful to our ancestors. Fat is stored in special fat cells around the body and it is always stored in areas where it's least likely to be worked off through exercise. If we had lots of fat cells in our hands or in our lower legs or feet, then the fat would be worked off too quickly. Fat stored around the abdomen on the other hand will be retained over a much longer period. The belly is the perfect place to store fat as far as your body is concerned.

Unfortunately this also means that abdominal fat is the last fat to go when you start dieting and that dieting alone won't get rid of it.

2. Abdominal fat is bad for your health
You probably know all about the pear shape - the bane of many women's lives. Pear shapes tend to have defined waists and put on excess weight around their hips and thighs. You may be less familiar with the apple shape. Apple shapes have less defined or non existent waists and naturally put on weight around the belly area.

The apple shaped body accumulates excess fat around the internal organs whereas the pear shape stores fat under the skin in the buttocks and thigh area. If you're a pear - you may hate the accumulated fat on your hips and thighs - but it's a lot better there than around your major organs.

Type 2 Diabetes and insulin resistance are two common problems associated with larger apple shapes but apple shapes also have an increased risk of breast cancer, ovulatory dysfunction, heart problems and sleep apnoea. So if you have belly fat or are naturally an apple shape - you need to do something about it.

3. It is possible to shed abdominal fat and it isn't that complicated
The key is to combine a healthy eating regime with both cardio exercise and core strength training.

Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate to 60-85% of its maximum rate. Not only does cardio exercise burn calories and reduce body fat - it will also strengthen your heart and lungs which is vital as you get older.

Of course, once you start cardio exercise you may get hooked - exercise of this kind stimulates the body to release endorphins and mood enhancing hormones. Not only will you look better you'll feel a whole lot better too. Your energy levels will rise even though you are doing more and you will feel more positive.

But don't think that cardio exercise is enough to shift your belly fat - it will help but you need core exercise as well. You need to do exercises that specifically target your core strength and build muscle - especially muscle around your middle.

There are lots of ways you can do core strength training. You go to a gym and use special equipment; you can follow a core exercise program at home or you can take up Pilates or yoga. All of these are excellent forms of exercise to build muscle mass and increase suppleness and strength.

So you can beat nature and get your body to access the stores of fat around your middle and you don't need any expensive products or special medication to do it. The answer isn't complicated or difficult but it does require some effort on your part.

If you make the effort you'll soon see an amazing difference in the way you look and feel - a new, more positive and younger looking you.

About the Author
Eileen Gravelle is an author and web publisher who writes extensively on all aspects of anti aging. The lifestyle section of her website, Anti Aging Lifestyle, includes articles on positive lifestyle choices like fitness and weight loss.

Picture: A fit U.S. Marine in training.

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