Dear Guys,

As I’ve grown older, I seem to have lost my waist. I used to enjoy wearing belts and dresses that showed off my waistline. But, in recent years I’ve put on a few pounds and lost my “in-and-out” figure. What is the best way to start working out and get the right curves back?

I am really glad you asked about this. Keeping track of your waistline is really important, and new research suggests that waist size could play as important a role as body weight in determining how long you live. In a cancer prevention study, researchers found that those with the largest waistlines had about twice the risk of dying over a nine-year period as those with the smallest waistlines.

Even if you have a healthy body mass index (a calculation of how much you weigh versus your height), if you have a big waist you’re at greater risk. In fact, it was found that every four-inch increase in waist size was associated with a 25-percent greater risk of death.

So what’s the ideal waist size? According to the American Heart Association it’s below 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men.

If your waist measures more than 35 inches or you just feel healthier without the extra inches, then there are a few things you need to do:

Start working out: There is no doubt that, when trying to lose weight, eating healthy foods is extremely important. However, while a new diet may reduce your weight, it probably won’t change your body’s shape in the way exercise can, and that’s what you are looking for. Additionally, current thinking is that abdominal fat is more responsive to exercise than fat in other areas.

Thirty minutes on the treadmill won’t cut it: It has been proven time and again that mixing bursts of high-intensity activity with more moderate exercise is the best way to burn abdominal fat.

Include strength training: Strength training has many benefits including eliminating belly fat and keeping the waist slim.

Do not give up on exercise: Even after you’ve lost weight, keep on working out. A study published in the journal Obesity found that people who continued to exercise kept their abdominal or visceral fat from returning, even if they put on weight overall.

Attempt to get at least seven hours of sleep: Columbia University Medical Center published a compelling piece of research that showed that women who slept five hours a night were almost twice as likely to be obese as women who slept seven.

Billy Katz and Hudson Ellis are the co-owners of Simply Fit gyms.
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