Middle age brings with it a string of physical and emotional changes that our bodies are unused to. Once you hit 40, your body responds to the biological metamorphosis that is taking place within. This could mean anything from gaining weight to experiencing hot flushes and your body is just trying to adjust to the changes. One of the most effective ways to sail out of this phase is to maintain a healthy body. A fit body not only protects you from diseases but also makes you feel good from the inside.
Often, people over the age of 40 put on the “middle-age spread” around the stomach and the waist. We know that belly fat increases the risk of diabetes and a host of other illness, so there’s no reason for you to not get rid of it.
In women, visceral fat is also said to increase the risk of breast cancer. In fact, having excessive belly fat is worse than having an unhealthy BMI. So, here are some ways that will help you reduce belly fat and achieve a flat stomach!1
1. Refuse Sugary Treats
Your body stores extra sugar in the form of fat. And studies state that fructose in your diet increases the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes.2 To reduce belly fat, control your sweet tooth. To satisfy your cravings, turn to fruit. Eat an apple (with peanut butter), instead of that donut – it’s a definite win-win.
2. Avoid Crash Diets
Today, the internet’s floating with fad diets that claim to miraculously get rid of your belly fat in a week (or lesser). But it does no good to fall prey to them. Most of these diets are unhealthy and do not give you a balanced nutrition. And, their benefits are only short-term. While these diets might work for a 20-year-old, it is not advised for anybody over 40. Instead, consult a nutritionist and eat what’s most suitable for you.
Remember not to drastically decrease your food intake. If anything, it will cut down on the nutrients present in your food, leaving you weak and unhealthy.
3. Go For Planks, Not Crunches
Often, in an attempt to burn belly fat, we perform exercises that are not only strenuous but also ineffective. A lot of people perform crunches and situps to tighten their stomachs, but these exercises might not be all that effective. Instead, turn to planks. Planks reduce belly fat, work your abdominal muscles, and strengthen your core. They also attend to the abdominal separation, which many women develop in their later years.3
4. Watch Out For Midnight Hunger
According to Ayurveda, it is unhealthy to eat anything (especially spicy and greasy food) 2 hours before you hit the bed. So, your midnight hunger pang might actually be the culprit behind you not achieving that flat belly.
If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water. It’ll keep you hydrated and full, preventing you from eating junk. Or, keep a bowl of fruits next to your bed. If you’re eating at midnight, might as well eat healthily!4 Also, turn off your TV and go to bed earlier. Staying up for long hours is what gives rise to hunger pangs in the first place.
5. Consider Strength Training
Most of us opt for running or treadmill workouts to achieve washboard abs. But, what we actually need is strength training. So, use weights and strengthen your core. This will work your abdominal muscles and get rid of the extra fat. Strength training also helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of diabetes, and decreases fatigue. Who knew dumbells had so many advantages?5
6. Turn To Yoga
If you have medical conditions that don’t allow you to lift weights or if you feel that strength training isn’t really “your thing,” you can always opt for yoga. While yoga asanas were not found to flatten your tummy, they definitely will allow you to lead a holistic, healthy life. Poses like dhanurasana, chakrasana, bhujangasana, vakrasana, and ustrasana can help you shed belly fat in a healthy and non-toxic manner.
7. Get Enough Vitamin D And Calcium
To achieve a flat stomach, it’s important to eat a balanced diet. However, certain nutrients help you get rid of the belly fat faster than the others. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin D and calcium have properties that significantly reduce visceral (belly) fat.6 To shed the weight around the middle, opt for foods rich in vitamin D and calcium, such as spinach, soybeans, fatty fish, and fortified orange juice.
Age is just a number. It should not be seen as a barrier to attain a fit body. By following these tips, you can easily lose that extra belly fat and get a body that is not just healthy but also enviable.
|↑1, ↑5||Fowler, Kimberly. Flat Belly Yoga!: The 4-Week Plan to Strengthen Your Core. Rodale, 2013.|
|↑2||Stanhope, Kimber L., Jean-Marc Schwarz, and Peter J. Havel. “Adverse metabolic effects of dietary fructose: Results from recent epidemiological, clinical, and mechanistic studies.” Current opinion in lipidology 24, no. 3 (2013): 198.|
|↑3||Seibel, Mache. The Estrogen Fix: The Breakthrough Guide to Being Healthy, Energized, and Hormonally Balanced. Rodale, 2017.|
|↑4||Sachs, Melanie. Ayurvedic Beauty Care: Ageless Techniques to Invoke Natural Beauty. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 2002|
|↑6||Rosenblum, Jennifer L., Victor M. Castro, Carolyn E. Moore, and Lee M. Kaplan. “Calcium and vitamin D supplementation is associated with decreased abdominal visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese adults.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 95, no. 1 (2012): 101-108.|