A recent study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found men who keep fit were seven times more likely to have a healthy old age, even if they only took up exercise when they retired. ‘It’s never too late to get fit,’ says Matt.
‘If you haven’t exercised before do a gradual catch up and build your fitness up. In a year you can achieve an incredible amount of fitness – it takes a year to train for a marathon and just two years to train for an Iron Man marathon.’
Don’t despair; you can lose that spare tyre, experts say. However, there’s no secret formula.
“The key to losing belly fat is self-motivation, exercise, eating a more healthy diet and consuming fewer calories than you use up,” says Dr Sarah Clarke, a consultant cardiologist at Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
For men, belly fat is nothing to joke about. The risks it poses for men are well known and documented, but how many men actually take note of the health issues it can cause?
If you are one of those men who is carrying a few extra pounds around the middle then this article is for you and let me tell you,
Abdominal Fat in men is a serious problem, so if you think are alone you are not!
Obesity levels in the UK continue to rise, with 67.1% of men now classified as either overweight or obese, according to government stats.
While obesity, in general, is a major predictor of serious ill-health in men, abdominal obesity – that is excess fat around the stomach – is an added health risk, which is bad news for us, men.
Typically we store fat around our middle, as for men under stress they are doubly at risk as stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol which appears to stimulate fat storage around the stomach and abdomen.
So for the sake of your long-term health, you need to consider making some changes to your lifestyle, and they can be very small changes to start with, bigger changes can be made as time goes by.
Abdominal obesity is one of a number of interlinked conditions (the others being high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high levels of inflammatory and clotting components in the blood) that comprise the condition known as metabolic syndrome.
So If You Have A Few Pounds Around The Middle What Do I Need To Do?
First things to find out are –
- What your overall body fat percentage.
- Why do you need to know your figure?
This figure is an easy way of understanding the issue of excess fat around your belly
“BFP is a good integrated measure of fitness and functionality,” says Dr Steven Heymsfield, Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Centre,
For men aged 20-39, a score of above 25% is classed as obese; for gents aged 40-59, it clocks in at above 28%. It’s a stark visual message: if a quarter of your entire body is made of fatty tissue, you are obese.
The centre has a great website full of really useful information – If you want to know more about men’s health, just follow the link
So what is a healthy BFP?
The Royal College of Nursing lists 8-20% for 20-39-year-old men, rising to 11-22% if you’re between 40 and 59.
“The value often cited for healthy men with normal BMI is 15%,” says Heymsfield.
This includes both subcutaneous fat, which is the outwardly visible, stubborn flab you want to shift, and visceral fat, which is the stuff around your arteries that your doctor is more concerned about
It will fluctuate depending on your height, age, ethnicity, and a host of other factors. As long as you’re within that range, though, you needn’t worry.
If you do not know what your BFP go and visit this site they a have an easy to use a calculator to calculate your BFP.
So Why is Belly Fat A Concern For Men?
The main problem with large amounts of belly fat is that it’s not limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.
Never mind your overall weight, having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Colorectal cancer
- Sleep apnea
Does Age and Exercise or Lack of Exercise Play A Role in Gaining Weight?
The answer to the second part is a big fat YES!
This is a very simple equation to remember and it’s not rocket science
Your weight is largely determined by how many calories you eat with the amount of exercise you do and the energy you burn.
If you eat too much and do very little exercise or no exercise at all, you’re likely to pack on excess pounds — including belly fat.
Ageing Does Play a Role.
As you get older you tend to lose muscle, that’s just part of the ageing process — especially if you’re not physically active, so for those men who have never thought of doing a little exercise, even mowing the lawn, then this may be the time to get outside and do some work.
FACT – Lose of muscle mass decreases the rate at which your body burns calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight. – In addition, in some men, fat cells in the arms and legs lose the ability to store fat, which causes any excess fat to go to the abdomen.
Does Drinking Too Much Alcohol Cause You to Get A Beer Belly?
Drinking too much alcohol can cause you to gain belly fat — the “beer belly.” However, beer alone isn’t to blame. Drinking too much alcohol of any type can increase belly fat although some research suggests wine might be an exception.
If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.- Cut down on how much you drink and you will reduce the calories you’ll consume and the less likely you’ll be to gain belly fat.
Related Article: How to Reverse Middle-Age Weight Gain
The Best Way To Ward Off Abdominal Obesity From Your Life
By taking preventive measures. There is no simple and quick answer to losing the pounds around the middle. It’s very much about changing your lifestyle
Why not try these few effective preventive measures and see how you get on.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day. Water is the best natural resource available to throw out waste.
- Eat your food at your own time. Munch it thoroughly before swallowing it as eating quickly can lead to air swallowing. Hence, slow down and enjoy your delicious meal.
- Limit consumption of carbonated water. Instead, drink lemon water.
- Say NO to sugary items.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Eat small meals, and eat after every 3-4 hours.
- Avoid late night eating.
- Include at least 45 minutes of daily exercise in your life.
- Get a proper 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Include low-fat dietary products like skimmed milk and low-fat cheese and yoghurt.
- Control hypertension.
- Check your cholesterol level regularly.
- Control your weight.
Healthy Eating Guidelines for Men
As a general guide, choose foods which are low in fat – especially saturated or trans-fats – low in sodium, and less refined. To be more specific, eat at least five daily servings of fruits and vegetables – more is better.
Also, eat a wide variety of both, because different fruits and vegetables contain different nutrients. Eat whole grains such as brown rice and whole-wheat bread rather than white rice and white bread.
Whole grain foods are richer in nutrients and higher in both soluble and insoluble fibre compared to more processed products. Their extra fibre content means they help to maintain healthy blood glucose levels, which reduces the risk of appetite swings and cravings.
Personalise Your Eating Plan
There is no single diet plan that fits every man. Moreover, eliminating all your favourite foods is not a winning weight loss strategy.
As long as your regular daily diet is calorie-controlled (1500-1850 calories) and contains enough healthy foods, you should be able to include a few treats without interfering with your weight reduction.
If the idea of joining Weight Watchers doesn’t appeal, customise an online diet plan or seek an individualised eating plan from a registered dietitian.
Weight Reduction Exercise for Men
Keeping active is one of the most effective methods of protecting ourselves against serious disease, and maintaining a good quality of life.
This introduces the basic male dilemma. In order to achieve a comfortable standard of living for himself and his family, a man typically has to spend extra hours working instead of exercising.
But by not exercising he runs a much higher risk of serious disease, a crippling rise in insurance bills, as well as an illness-prone retirement. No easy choices here, I’m afraid, although the rational decision must be to make exercise a higher priority. This is particularly true for men over 40.
For men who really want to lose weight, I suggest you first see your doctor for a quick check-up. Then, if all is well, I advise you start with 45 minutes/day of light exercise. Does this for 2-3 weeks or until you notice obvious benefits such as improved breathing, sleeping and appetite?
Then gradually increase the duration and intensity of your training program up to 60 minutes a day.
The best way to avoid overstrain is to loosen up with stretches at the beginning of each exercise session and wind down with stretches afterwards.
Go easy on fat. Enjoy low-fat dairy products – remember, full-fat cheese is a huge source of saturated fat – and don’t add extra fat to food in the form of mayo or sour cream. Stay away from chips and other high-fat, high sodium snack foods.
From their thirties onwards, the average man loses a fifth of a pound of muscle a year and after 50 he loses 1lbs of muscle per year.
This reduced muscle mass increases body fat, which can lead to obesity and heart disease. The answer is to lift weights. ‘Hormonally, lifting weights increases testosterone levels.
As men age our testosterone levels decline which causes fat gain. So lifting weights works on two levels –
- You create muscle mass by lifting them
- You also increase your testosterone levels, which speeds up your metabolism.
Weights also improve your sex drive, you look more toned and better in clothes which increase your self-esteem and it also boosts bone density (this also declines with age).’ Indeed, a 2015 study from the University of Missouri in the US found that middle-aged men who regularly lift weights are at a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
Improved Lifestyle For Men
Quitting smoking is the top priority for any man with weight-related health problems. Another essential improvement is in stress reduction or at least better stress management.
This is because any stress which leads to a feeling that life is out of control is a major contributor to disordered eating, excessive alcohol intake and disease, as well as family problems.
Moving to a less stressful job, reducing your work schedule, or taking regular physical exercise are useful ways to reduce stress, and will definitely assist weight loss and general health. Spending more time with your family is also a great stress reliever.