Pop quiz – what was your waist measurement at age 18? And now? An increase of more than two inches could indicate accelerated aging is headed your way. We all put on a few pounds here and there as we age, but when it starts to settle around your waistline your body will start acting and feeling old before its time. Everything from fatigue to digestive issues to skin blemishes can all be blamed, at least in part, on excess abdominal weight.
Why? Well, extra fat in this area has a tendency to impede the normal healthy function of organs in the same space. Intestinal activity can be slowed down, kidneys don’t eliminate wastes as effectively as usual, and even little activities like sleeping soundly can be negatively impacted. Not to mention an abundance of belly fat can significantly increase your risk for type 2 adult onset diabetes, colorectal cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Men are particularly at risk for weight gain in this area. Age and genetics do play a role however according to endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic, Michael Jensen, MD the biggest contributing factor is a simple as the way you balance calories consumed with the amount of calories burned. It really doesn’t get any more simple than that. As your body ages and you slow down physically you do lose muscle mass and the less muscle you have the rate at which your body uses calories decreases. That coupled with the fact that for many men fat cells in the arms and legs lose the ability to adequate store fat the outcome is all of the excess fat stores in the belly and waistline areas.
Not to worry – you can still turn back the hands of time by making moderate lifestyle adjustments. Simply cutting out sugary beverages like sodas and juices can help you lose between 2 and 5 pounds over a 6-week period. Add a half-mile walk three days a week and you can up that number up to 7 or 8 pounds in the same time frame. As the weight comes off, so will the inches, and you’ll have your evidence that your efforts are putting you back on track.