It’s a sad fact that, as we age, many of us find ourselves carrying an increased amount of abdominal fat or belly fat and – even worse – this kind of fat gets in the way of healthy aging.
Unfortunately, there are lots of misconceptions surrounding abdominal fat, the major one probably being that you can lose it simply by doing abdominal exercise. The truth is, you can’t.
While abdominal exercise is vital to build and tone abdominal muscles – it won’t get rid of the stomach fat on its own.
The body stores fat in order to help us survive famine. Because the body doesn’t want to lose this fat, it stores it in areas where it’s least likely to be worked off through exercise. Fat stored around the abdomen will be retained over a much longer period.
Although it’s true that abdominal exercise alone won’t lead to loss of stomach fat, it’s important that you do abdominal exercise to recreate the flat, strong stomach of your younger days.
Strengthening your abdominal muscles will also lead to a stronger back and less strain when lifting and carrying.
The best way to lose abdominal fat is through a healthy combination of diet AND exercise. For a really effective anti aging exercise routine combine cardio workouts with specific routines to tone and strengthen muscles.
Cardio or aerobic exercise is exercise that elevates your heart rate to around 60-85% of its maximum rate (the fastest it could possibly beat). When you’re in the aerobic zone, you should be able to talk, but not able to carry on a long conversation. If you find it difficult to talk at all when exercising like this then that probably means you are unfit.
Most experts agree that you for healthy aging you should do some form of cardio exercise for between twenty to thirty minutes a minimum of three days each week. Obviously the more you do above this minimum the fitter you will become and the healthier and more energetic you will feel.
Examples of excellent cardio exercise include – dancing, running, power walking, swimming, rowing, biking and step aerobics. There are plenty of others and you should easily be able to find something you enjoy doing that fits your lifestyle and your fitness level.
Cardio exercise has many health benefits. Not only does it burn calories and reduce body fat – it will also strengthen your heart and lungs. Heart disease is a leading cause of premature death for both men and women so making time for regular cardio exercise is very important. Other positive results include increased bone mass and improvements in muscle tone.
It’s easy to get hooked on cardiovascular exercise because exercise of this kind stimulates the body to release endorphins and mood enhancing hormones.
Cardio exercise won’t increase your muscle mass – so you also need do exercises that specifically target your core strength. Reduced muscle mass is increasingly evident as you get older and it is vital that you follow a program that builds muscle and fights flab – especially abdominal flab.
Muscle toning and strengthening exercises can be done with resistance training in the gym using special equipment or you can follow a core exercise programe at home or take up pilates or yoga. All of these are excellent forms of exercise for building muscle mass and increasing suppleness and strength.
The key to following an effective anti aging exercise regimen is to balance core strength training with some form of cardio exercise – to do it regularly and to make sure you keep it up. If you manage to build a routine that fits in with the way you live and that you enjoy doing – it will play a huge part in keeping you looking younger for longer.