I get this question at least 3 times a week from existing and new clients who feel that no matter WHAT they do, ever since about age 50, they’ve been struggling with accumulation of fat in their midsection. New research looks at what it takes to reduce adipose tissue around the waist, and not too surprisingly, the answer lies with exercising for more time and with more intensity. A recent study compared women who exercised moderately for 150 minutes a week, (the minimum recommendation for fitness) with women who exercised for 300 minutes a week, or the equivalent of one hour, 5 days a week. Not only did they find that the latter group lost fat around their middle, but a link between fat loss and breast cancer was referenced. “A probable association between physical activity and post-menopausal breast cancer risk is supported by more than 100 epidemiologic studies, with strong biologic rationale supporting fat loss as an important (though not the only) mediator of this association, ” as stated in the article. Go to http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150716123840.htm for more details.
The Surgeon General recommends a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity along with 2 sessions of weight training to maintain and support fitness for adults. Find out about other recommendations at at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/prevention/strategy/active-living.pdf. However, this study compared those who used the aerobic recommendation of 150 minutes a week, and saw little change in their abdominal body fat as compared to those who exercised twice that amount per week. This is instructive for those wondering how to really make a change in their physique. Another important factor is getting into your target heart rate zone. For a comprehensive look at what your target heart rate is, go to http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp. Here’s a quick look at where you should be based on your age.
|20 years||100-170 beats per minute||200 beats per minute|
|30 years||95-162 beats per minute||190 beats per minute|
|35 years||93-157 beats per minute||185 beats per minute|
|40 years||90-153 beats per minute||180 beats per minute|
|45 years||88-149 beats per minute||175 beats per minute|
|50 years||85-145 beats per minute||170 beats per minute|
|55 years||83-140 beats per minute||165 beats per minute|
|60 years||80-136 beats per minute||160 beats per minute|
|65 years||78-132 beats per minute||155 beats per minute|
|75-128 beats per minute
72-125 beats per minute
69-122 beats per minute
|150 beats per minute
145 beats per minute
140 beats per minutes
So what’s the take-away? Once again, moderate to intense exercise 5 days a week, one hour at time will help you get rid of the belly fat, providing your diet stays about the same, as long as this would be an increase in your current physical activity level. Don’t panic if you exceed your “maximum heart rate”. The above numbers are estimates, and true target heart rates are based on your resting heart rate. You should check with your doctor if you think you’re regularly going over your recommended rate. I’d go out on a limb and say that this is a good problem to have because it means you’re working very hard and going beyond your moderate to hard intensity if you’re exercising at this rate (and can still breathe!)
Now get out there and find a way to boost your exercise and reap the rewards!