Belly Fat – What risk does it pose to Men’s Health
Men have more to worry about in excess weight than their looks. Find out how Belly Fat can pose dangerous health risks and how to prevent these before they happen to you.
Carrying extra weight is something that most people nowadays do, but you shouldn’t think it is healthy or safe. Having the extra pounds can be risky, and these common questions point out just how risky it could be to keep around extra weight.
Why should men be concerned with Belly Fat?
The problem is that belly fat is not what you immediately think it is. It is divided into two parts, the subcutaneous layer of fat laying just under the skin, which is mostly harmless, but unsightly, and the layer of fat deep under the skin that is wrapped around your internal organs. The latter is called visceral fat, and that is where the real issues come into play. No matter what your actual weight, having excess fat in either of these areas can raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, serious issues such as colorectal cancer, dangerous sleep apnea, and even cardiovascular disease.
What role do age and genetics play in gaining and keeping belly fat?
They play a much smaller role then one would immediately think. Actually, the main source of belly fat has to do with your calorie balance. The best way to effectively combat this serious problem is through understanding how to maintain a balance between the calories you eat and those that you burn. Exercising too little and eating too much will lead into stored calories, while the opposite is also true.
Age as it advances does have a role, though, mostly because aging impacts the body’s ability to form and keep muscle. Losing muscle mass means that exercise is much less effective, which in turn can mean that maintaining weight can be harder with each passing year. Also, fat cells located in the arms or legs may stop storing fat entirely, meaning that any fat stored in the body will instead go to the belly and abdomen.
Genetics has a role as well, largely being able to indicate where on the scale from overweight to underweight you will be with an average amount of exercise and how your body will store fat in the first place.
Drinking too much – how is it related to belly fat?
The quintessential “beer belly” is something that is on every man’s mind as something they never want to have, so how do we avoid it? Studies have shown that drinking too much of any type of alcohol (with the possible exception of wine) leads to a big increase in the caloric intake of the men who do so, leading to an overall increase in the size of their belly and weight.
The verdict is that if you want to stay healthy and keep that trim figure, drink in moderation, keeping the high calorie counts of most alcoholic beverages out of your body.
How much is too much of this belly fat?
The simplest way to determine if you have an excess of belly fat is to measure it yourself using this simple procedure:
- Stand relaxed and with a simple tape measure, letting your stomach sit where it normally is. Take the tape measure and place it level around your waist, directly above your hip bones. If your belly is in the way, lay down for the measurement.
- Exhale fully and mark the measurement.
In men, anything greater than 102 cm, or 40 inches, is considered too much belly fat and may bring the possibilities for greater health problems much higher than normal.
Belly Fat – So, how do we lose it?
One typical misconception is that crunches or abdominal work outs will tone down belly fat, and although they will tone down the muscles there, it will be no more effective than any other workout, because the important part is balancing the caloric intake with the energy spent. Losing belly fat, however, is as simple as these easy steps:
- Make your daily routine include physical activity. It has been suggested that you take part in moderate activity, like a brisk walk, for 150 minutes a week at least, or vigorous aerobic activity, such as a good jog, for 75 minutes a week at least. Strength training exercise is also suggested to happen twice a week, but this is only to maintain the body. To lose belly fat, more is needed, and doubling these numbers will put your body in a good place of constant exercise.
- Find a good diet and stick to it. Make sure that you eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables more than the non-plant-based foods out there, and use leaner sources of meat than you would normally. Take saturated fat out of your life almost in its entirety, instead opting for foods with a moderate amount of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats – like those found in fish and nuts – instead.
- Take a look at your portion sizes. One old trick that still works today, is to stop when you have finished half of your meal, wait ten to fifteen minutes before eating the other half. This will allow time for your food to settle, and you will be surprised just how not hungry you are at the end of those minutes. Take home the extra and count it a job well done.
Consult a doctor if you really want to lose weight, and remember, it is a slow process. Set a moderate goal of 2 pounds of fat loss each week, and remember that the day to day fluctuation in your weight between bowel movements and meals could be more than that amount. In the end, the amount better you will feel, the self esteem boost, and the health boost is worth it to any man willing to try.