Whether it's because of hormone changes, heredity, or aging, as the years pass by many women will start to notice an increase in belly fat as they get older - even more so after menopause.
Yes, its unfortunate for us females that women tend to experience a larger fat percentage increase than males do.
As you get older your metabolism starts to slow down to a certain degree and one of the signs of this is that the amount of fat in your body gradually increases. After menopause (the time in a woman's life when she stops having menstrual periods, the average age for the onset of menopause is 51 years), your body fat distribution will tend to shift. You will notice less fatty areas in your legs, arms and hips, and more in your abdomen (belly).
Body Mass Index (See our BMI calculator) is not an accurate measure of body fat percentage or fat distribution in women, particularly after menopause.
Some women can actually experience an expanding waistline yet fail to see any weight gain on the scales. What is happening? Although you may not be gaining any extra fat, your actual abdominal fat is increasing as your hip area and limb fat decreases.
This is where health problems can start to develop as abdomen fat is particularly unhealthy for both males and females.
What is Visceral fat?
Visceral fat (Explanation of visceral fat) is fat that is located inside your peritoneal cavity between internal organs, as opposed to subcutaneous fat which is found beneath the skin and intramuscular fat which is found in skeletal muscle. An excess of visceral fat leads to the "pot belly", "spare tire", or "beer belly" effect.
Sometimes heredity may be the cause of your belly fat, yes, you can blame your parents for that waistline!
It is possible to lose and keep off that newly formed belly fat, but like everything else in life it does require some work, in this case exercise and diet control.
Some of the risks of Visceral fat (belly fat) in women include:
Some types of cancers including breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
And in particular cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure and heart disease.
Can certain foods help you to lose belly fat?
Unfortunately no, there are no magic foods that will cause you to lose fat from your abdomen. However if you practice eating the right amount of calories for weight loss (calculator showing calories burned for various activities) you will eventually lose weight from all areas of your body including that problem belly area. Discipline yourself to eat a healthy diet, mix in some regular exercise or workouts and you'll find yourself burning even more calories and toning your muscles at the same time.
Before beginning the exercises to lose belly fat you should properly measure your stomach or waist.
The proper way to do this is - place a tape measure around your midsection at your navel level, don't hold your tummy in, and don't pull on the tape measure so tightly that it presses your skin in.
Properly targeted tummy exercises will most certainly help you to firm your abdominal muscles and flatten your belly. The key is to develop a routine of moderately intense exercise daily in order to lose weight and tone your muscles. As you progress with your exercise routine you will notice one of the first beneficial signs is that your belly fat will begin to shrink, often before you see fat loss in other body areas. As always you should speak with your doctor before starting any exercise programs.
Workouts - Lets start those Belly fat exercises.
Contrary to popular belief sit-ups are NOT the best way to firm up your tummy region. You should target your deeper and lower abdominal muscles.
Workouts for lower abdominal muscles:
Performing exercises known as pelvic lifts and pelvic tilts. Pelvic tilts are also great exercises for the lower back, abdominals, sacroiliac joint and adjacent structures.
To perform pelvic tilts you should lay on your back on the floor with your knees bent upwards. While flattening your back against the floor tighten your abdominal muscles and bend your pelvis up a little. Hold this position for 8 - 10 seconds. Repeat at least 5 times and try to work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.
To perform pelvic lifts lay on your back on the floor with your knees bent toward your chest region, your arms should be relaxed by your sides. Tense or tighten your lower abdomen and slowly lift your bum up off the floor until you are aiming your knees toward the roof. Hold for 8 - 10 seconds and repeat at least five times. As you progress you should try to work up to 10 to 20 repetitions of this exercise.
Your deeper abdominal muscles can be toned by:
Pelvic lifts, also great for losing buttock fat and for bad or sore backs. Begin by getting down on all fours and allowing your tummy to hang down as you take in a deep breath. Then exhale, at the end of your exhalation, pull your belly button inward and upward toward your spine until you feel a slight tightening around your waist area.
Breathing normally hold this position for the count of ten without altering your back position. Then allow your belly to relax again for the count of ten, without moving your back. Repeat this exercise 10 - 12 times. As you become more proficient at this routine you can even perform it in the upright position where ever you are, waiting for a bus or in a check out line etc.
There you have it. All the workouts you need to lose belly fat. Just remember that developing a daily routine and establishing good eating habits play very important parts in your mission.
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