We all need to get moving.

Try to walk 30 minutes a day to fight belly fat.

BELLY FAT! – None of us likes the term, or wants to think about it, but belly fat is big on the HOW TO STAY WELL radar.  Expanding bellies and waists often occur as we boomers enter our 50s.

How do we get belly fat?

Personal Trainer Joe Chatman (ACE) advises: “When we age, there’s a natural accumulation of processes on the body: gravity,

a diet of fats, sugars and the wrong type of carbs,

lack of exercise.

We need cardio to raise the heart-rate and burn calories.

We need strength training to build muscle which constantly burns calories.”

Women Beware

Chatman warns that belly fat increase are more likely to happen to women because our makeup naturally stores fat around the abdomen, hips, and thighs.  We have visceral fat in the abdominal cavity to protect our internal organs, and as we age a lack of exercise and poor diet increases that fat.  Stress is a huge contributor too because it causes our bodies to release more cortisol and there are more cotrisol receptors in the midsection of our bodies.

The negatives that come with belly fat.

Did you know that fat at the waist provides a greater risk than fat in other parts of the body?  Belly fat can contribute to high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and abnormal fasting blood glucose.  If possible a fasting blood test that checks all these levels should be done at least once a year.  Chatman warns that weight gain can also cause sleep apnea, a condition where sleepers actually stop breathing during sleep; this is damaging to the heart and can increase the risk of stroke and diabetes.

Take control: measure your waist. 

One of the first things you should do if you are concerned about belly fat is measure your waist. Men are in the danger zone for obesity if their waist measurement is equal to or greater than 40 inches.  Women are considered obese if their waist measurement is equal to or greater than 35 inches.  To get a really accurate measurement, a waist-to-hip ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.  To see how go to:

Belly fat and heart disease.

You also need to know that research has found a potbelly indicates a risk for heart problems even when overall body weight is in normal range.  Belly fat is an outward sign of fat building in the arteries and eventually forming plaques that narrow arteries and increase heart attack and stroke risk.

Fight back at belly fat.

You can count calories and balance those with exercise.  Most doctors today are suggesting 30 minutes of exercise PER DAY. Chatman votes for aerobic exercise (cardio).  You’ll know you are doing this when your heart rate is increasing, breathing is harder, and blood is coursing through vessels to deliver oxygen to the muscles of your body. That can mean walking—park your car away from the store you are heading for, walk to the store if possible, walk in your neighborhood, take the stairs at work—just get outside and go for it.  Or cardio can mean running, swimming and jump roping.

Here’s the good news.  Chatman says: “Cardio not only burns calories but also causes an after effect—your metabolism stays elevated.  But make sure you get your heart rate into a zone that is healthy for your weight and age.  The absolute best workout would be combining both strength training with cardio.  Example: weight training a body part followed immediately by minutes of cardio exercise like walking uphill on a treadmill.”

Hungry after exercise? 

Make sure you don’t gain back what you just lost.  Examine your diet habits.  Stay away from soft drinks, red meat, French fries, sweets, chips, and butter.  You are getting little to no nutritional value from these foods—but lots of calories.

Try the Mediterranean diet.

This is highly recommended and includes fruits, vegetables, moderate amounts of whole grains and small amounts of red meat.  Fish, olive oil and nuts supply fat that is unsaturated and can be beneficial to the heart.  For more information go to:

How long will it take to lose the belly fat and keep it off?

You need to be in it for the long haul making exercise and a healthy diet permanent.  These life changes will help you avoid serious events like heart attack and stroke.  Your efforts will be worth the reward—a longer, healthier life.  So get ready and fight back at belly fat!

Thanks to Cuba Gallery and eliselovesprada–sortof  photostreams

These women are walking during their lunch break.