ST. CHARLES AVE.: To Your HealthThis month we will answer a question that a St. Charles Avenue reader sent in.

Q: Now that the holidays are over, I am ready to fight something that I have been battling for quite some time. I am ready to get rid of the fat around my waist. How can I feel comfortable putting on a pair of jeans when rolls of fat hang over at the waist? Is doing 1,000 crunches a day the only way to get rid of this stubborn spare tire?

A:In order to reduce your waistline you’re going to have to do a lot more than crunches. Crunches merely strengthen the muscles that lie underneath that stubborn spare tire. To get rid of the belly fat for good, you must partake in regular aerobic exercise sessions, as well as follow a sensible diet plan that limits both fat and caloric in take.

ST. CHARLES AVE.: To Your HealthAerobicexercise can include walking, skating, kickboxing and cycling. These are activities that use your larger muscle groups in legs, chest, and back and keep you breathing heavy for a sustained, relatively long, period of time (15 minutes or more). These exercises help burn caloriesand focus on the abdominal muscles that reside beneath the belly fat.You should aim for 3 to 5 aerobic workouts a week that last 30 to 60 minutes. For the best results, combine calorie-burning aerobic exercisewith full-body strength training and a sensible eating plan. After sixweeks of regular training you should see a significant difference in your waistline.

Reducing belly fat is not only important for your appearance but for health concerns as well. Recent studies have shown that those who store their excess fat around the belly area are at greater risk for diabetes and heart disease than those who store their excess fat below the waistline. Weight loss will enhance your appearances and may even help you live longer.

ST. CHARLES AVE.: To Your HealthHow to determine your risk of cardiovascular heart disease based upon fat storage? You must determine your waist-to-hip ratio. First measure the smallest part of your waistline, a few inches above the belly button.Then measure the largest area of your hip, including the buttocks. Finally, divide the waist measurement into the hip
measurement.Women who have a waist-to-hip ratio greater than .8 and men who have aratio greater than .9 are at greater risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately, you can’t melt fat away, but by toning and building muscles in your stomach you can achieve a firmer appearance. Overall weight loss will also help you reduce your waistline. In order to reduce health risks and eliminatethe rolls of fat around the waist, you must work to burn body fat and to build muscle.

Billy Katz and Hudson Ellis are the co-owners of Simply Fit gyms, located throughout the New Orleans area. Please email your health and fitness questions to them by going

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