For quite some time now, we have heard about dreaded belly fat. What is the big deal with belly fat and why is it so unhealthy for us? What are the abdominal exercises we need to do to get rid of it? All very good questions that I have had in the past myself, so keep reading for these explanations.
WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT BELLY FAT?
A small amount of belly fat is good for you in that it protects the stomach, intestines and other organs. Not all belly fat is the same. Subcutaneous fat, the top layer of fat you can actually pinch is not dangerous to your inner organs. However, when someone has visceral fat that surrounds the organs and puffs the stomach out, it can lead to unhealthy situations such as heart disease, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. The specific location of the visceral fat in the body can be a health problem resulting in issues with the gall bladder, fatty liver disease and other organ disorders.
WHAT CAUSES BELLY FAT?
There are several reasons why people can have belly fat:
1) Eating too much but exercising too little
When exercising, hormones called catecholamines are released which are effective at burning abdominal fat. To combat belly fat, exercise 30 – 60 minutes per day at moderate-intensity exercise.
2) Consuming excess sugars and starches in the diet
To shed some weight, consuming a higher-protein diet may help. Eating nutrient-rich foods such as legumes, fruits and unprocessed whole grains is healthy. Instead of consuming saturated fats, eat healthy fats like olive oil and avocado.
3) Having a sedentary lifestyle
Even if you can’t work out during the day, refer to my article “Get Up and Move Your Body ” for tips on how to get some exercise in during the day.
4) Having high levels of stress, which then creates the hormone, cortisol
Cortisol directly affects fat storage while increasing your appetite and sugar cravings. To combat this, get the proper amount of sleep each night, eat healthy, exercise and use stress-management techniques like yoga.
5) Having high levels of insulin in the body
Carbohydrates in our body can be stored as fat if we eat more than our body can burn. It is best to eat more protein and limit carbohydrates and white-flour products.
6) Hormones – estrogen, progesterone and testosterone
Estrogen and progesterone limits fat storage while testosterone increases belly fat. According to the 2013 study published in Diabetes, as estrogen levels decrease, fat storage increases.
When doing abdominal exercises, it is important to know how to do them correctly. We always say we want flat abs. However, in order to obtain a flat stomach, there are certain ab exercises we must consider to achieve that desired look.
Know and understand your body. If you have limitations around doing certain exercises, it is important to know what your limitations are and skip those particular exercises that may result in injury.
For abdominal exercises, see the videos below:
Before beginning an exercise program, consult with your doctor.
FINAL FOOD FOR THOUGHT
There are several reasons that cause us to have belly fat. However, no matter what the reason is behind gaining the belly fat, it is dangerous to your health. Work on having a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough sleep each night to combat the weight gain.
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