How to Get a Firm Belly
(This is week one of my three-month FREE fat burning course!)
It seems that we place a lot of importance on taut, flat stomachs. Everywhere we look, we see commercials promising to help us "Get a firm belly", or "Get sculpted abs.”
What they don't tell us is that there is no such thing as spot reducing. But don’t despair because excess fat comes off wherever you have an excess of it. So if you have too much fat on your belly and you do all the right things to burn that fat, it will come off. That being said, if you firm up your abs, once the fat comes off, you will see a great set abdominal muscles that are no longer hidden by fat.
But as a medical professional, I advocate being fit for far more important reasons than getting into a little black dress.
Research connects belly flab with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease and until I got my diabetes educator certification, I had no idea that 60 percent of diabetic (2) lose a limb! With exercise and proper diet, those odds can be greatly reduced.
Measure your waist to see if you have a dangerous level of abdominal fat. For optimal health, men should have a waist circumference below 40 inches. Women should have a waist circumference below 35 inches.
Here are some proven techniques to help you get a firm belly and reduce dangerous abdominal fat:
Consistent Movement and Eating Right
There are foods that can help you get a firm belly, too. Unused sugar turns into fat, but foods high in protein, vegetables and fiber are slenderizing. Look for a diet plan comprised mostly of vegetables, some fruit, lean protein sources, and unsaturated fats.
Exercise doesn't have to be done at a gym. You can burn calories while you participate in activities that you consider fun or fulfilling. For example, gardening burns several hundred calories per hour. Swimming is also a great fat-burner, and fun to boot. You could also take long walks down nature trails.
Cardio exercise will kick your fat-burning metabolism into overdrive. All it requires is persistence; if you can find an activity you like, and stick with it, the pounds will melt away. It's also important to vary your routine for maximum calorie burning, and to ward off boredom.
There are several exercises you can do to tighten your belly. The downfall with a lot of ab exercises is that they are usually demonstrated on the floor and this puts a lot of pressure on your spine. That’s why I designed Vertical Ab Toner in the Total Strength and Conditioning DVD. The entire workout can be done seated on a chair or standing. It’s also important to note that if you have osteoporosis and you do workouts that don’t offer a modified level, you run the risk of fracturing your spine so it’s important that you choose your exercises carefully.
Next Week: How Relaxing This Way Burns Fat!
Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.