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Posted on 06-13-2018

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Is your body summer-ready? Next week is the official first day of summer, after all! Even if you aren’t rocking those six-pack abs, hopefully, you have made staying active a priority in your lifestyle because it is more important than your looks. A growing mid-section may be something that happens as you approach middle-age, especially for women, but it doesn’t have to be the norm.

Even you may not notice the extra pounds, abdominal, or visceral fat is a concern because it can come with a variety of health problems. Visceral fat cannot be grasped with your hand because it lies deep within the abdominal cavity- it creates a cushion in the spaces between our abdominal organs. Visceral fat has been linked to metabolic problems and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is also associated with breast cancer in women and the need for gallbladder surgery. One of the reasons visceral fat is concern for your health could be that it is located near the portal vein, which carriers blood from the intestinal area to the liver.

A good question to ask yourself about fat is am I apple-shaped or pear-shaped?

If you are pear-shaped, you have fat that accumulates in the lower part of your body, which is the pinchable type of fat, subcutaneous fat. If you are apple-shaped, most likely the fat that has accumulated around your mid-section is largely visceral. Hormones and genetics play a part in where fat ends up. Subcutaneous fat can often be harder to get rid of, but thankfully, it doesn’t pose as much of a health risk.

The good news is that abdominal fat can be reduced greatly by diet and exercise, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Consistently staying active for at least 30 minutes per day helps control weight. Lifting weights can also help fight abdominal fat. Floor exercises such as crunches and sit-ups can tighten abdominal muscles, but unfortunately, they won’t get rid of visceral fat. In addition to regular exercise, diet plays an important role. Paying attention to portion size and emphasizing complex carbs and lean protein over simple carbs will help with weight loss and fighting visceral fat.

Most importantly, don’t let physical appearance be the only reason you take care of your body. A healthy diet and regular exercise will do wonders for your over-all health and wellness, and that should be your number one reason to start!

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