The Risks of Abdominal Fat
Medical research has found that where your body stores excess fat can affect your risk of health problems. Studies have shown that fat gained around the abdomen, or "belly fat," is the most dangerous, while fat in the hips, thighs, and buttocks appears to be less so.
A large waist — greater than 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women — has been linked to increased risk of many serious illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol.
While sit-ups will tone your abdominal muscles, the best way to banish belly fat is to engage in cardiovascular activities, such as walking, swimming, aerobics, and bicycling. Anything that gets your blood pumping will help your body burn off stored fat in the stomach area and elsewhere.
Just as important in the fight against belly fat is reducing calorie intake while still eating a balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and the like fill you up but don't contain a lot of fat or calories. Avoid fat-laden, fried, and sugary foods. Since excess alcohol intake seems to be linked to abdominal fat deposits, drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
Some research has suggested that stress is linked to abdominal weight gain. So if you're constantly feeling under the gun, try to eliminate additional stress in your life. In situations where you can't cut out stress, practice relaxation techniques and other stress-management skills.
When it comes to winning the war against abdominal fat, this three-pronged approach — exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management — is your best ally. Your health will reflect your efforts!