As you age, you gain more belly fat. In aging women, estrogen levels, which influence fat distribution, decrease. As a result, more fat gets stored in the belly. Aging men lose muscle tissue which slows down metabolism and may lead to weight gain. Women with a waist circumference greater than 35 inches and men with a waist circumference greater than 41 inches are at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. To avoid having to deal with medical conditions due to your middle age pouch, reduce your belly fat and tighten your stomach through exercise.
Perform reverse crunches to tighten your lower stomach muscles. Reverse crunches help target and isolate the lower belly area. Lie on your back with your legs in the air and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head for support. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and bring your knees into your chest. Hold the contraction for three seconds and release it. Bring your head back down and lower your feet to hover above the floor. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions.
Perform elbow-to-knee crunches to work your obliques. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulder blades off the floor and turn your torso to the left. Raise your left leg and bring your right elbow to your left knee. Lower your foot back to the floor and repeat the exercise with your left elbow and right knee. Increase your speed over time and keep your feet from lowering back to the floor. Rotate them as if you are riding a bicycle. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions.
Tone your upper abdominal muscles with standard crunches. Lie on your back with both feet on the floor. Support your head with your hands. Raise your shoulder blades off the floor and hold the contraction in your tummy for three seconds before lowering back to the floor and releasing it. Work your way up to do three sets of 12 repetitions.
Make cardiovascular exercise part of your belly-tightening routine. Perform moderate-intense cardiovascular activity for 150 minutes per week as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cardiovascular exercise stimulates your metabolism so you burn calories and body fat, including the fat that makes up your middle age pouch.
Incorporate strength training into your belly-tightening regimen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you strength train on two days of the week. Use free weight, weightlifting machines and your body weight to train all your body. Work your way up to perform three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. Use challenging weights so that the last repetition of each set is difficult to execute. Strength training maintains and increases muscle tissue which speeds up your resting metabolic rate so you burn body fat.
Eat a healthy diet. Avoid white carbohydrates and eat complex, fiber-rich carbohydrates instead. Limit saturated fats and consume unsaturated fats instead. Choose lean cuts of meat over fatty meat. Consume foods like oatmeal, brown rice, fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, olive oil, chicken, turkey and fish.
Tips & Warnings
- Consult a doctor before taking on a new diet or exercise regimen.
- Perform a variety of abdominal strengthening exercises on three, non-consecutive days of the week.
- Hold your abdominal muscles tight and contracted when performing strength training exercises. It improves your form and gives you an extra abdominal work out.
- Realize that losing fat is part of tightening your pouch. If you just tone the muscles, you will never see results because the fat is still covering them.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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