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Goodbye, Muffin Tops — Hello, Tighter Tummy

4 steps you can do at home to battle the mid-section bulge

Written by Vicki Southard

Do you want to stop wearing baggy clothing to hid your bulges? Don’t let your belly keep you from embracing a more fit, form-fitting wardrobe. Instead of sucking in, it’s time to suck it up. And, you can do it naturally.

Despite diet and exercise, beltline fat is often hard to eliminate because of poor circulation and fluid retention. Fluid retention is an abnormal build-up of liquids beneath the skin or in the cavities of the body, which produces swelling. The body uses a complex system of hormones to keep its level of fluids controlled and constant. When fluids are not drained through the body tissues properly, water retention results.

Men, women and children can experience water retention. Though it is generally more of a discomfort than a serious medical condition, water retention can be related to menopause, hypertension, kidney problems, and thyroid malfunctions. Symptoms include swelling, bloating, and weight fluctuations.

The key to slimming your mid-section is to get to the root of what is causing it. Try the following at-home steps in order to flush out excess fluids and obtain the summer body you desire:

1. Drink more water.

When attempting to decrease water weight, drinking water is likely the last thing you consider, but drinking lots of water is vital for flushing fluids out of your kidneys and digestive system. It also hydrates your body and brain, waking up your metabolism and allowing it to function effectively.

2. Avoid sodium.

Eating too many salty foods is a leading cause of water retention. The sodium in salt causes your body to retain water rather than excrete it. Your body needs sodium to function properly, but when consumed too often, it begins to accumulate in your blood. This accumulation leads to fluid retention and increased blood pressure. Reducing sodium intake enables your body to reduce water retention, so lay off those potato chips and French fries.

3. Cardio Exercises.

To combat water retention it is important to exercise on a regular basis. Exercising regularly enables the body to drain excess fluids and sodium through perspiration. Sweating is a good thing! Exercising also increases circulation. Belly fat usually responds best to aerobic exercises, which includes dancing, jogging or even brisk walking. Waistline bends and hula hooping increase circulation and improve blood flow. Increasing your blood circulation allows nutrients to move into your body’s cells and toxins to leave. Exercise long enough to produce weight loss. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that it may take 60 to 90 minutes of training performed five days a week to lose weight. Meet these guidelines to insure you melt away your muffin top.

4. Build Muscle.

Resistance training builds muscle, which in turn burns more calories. Weight training or natural resistance training not only builds muscle, but boosts your metabolism. The more muscle you build, the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you will burn while at rest. This, in turn promotes weight loss in the waist area. Perform exercises like pushups, bench presses, shoulder presses, bent-over rows, dips, biceps curls and squats to target all of your major muscle groups. Perform your exercises in a circuit. This will keep your heart rate elevated and cause a high caloric expenditure. Do each exercise back to back and take 30-second rest breaks in between. Aim for 12 to 15 reps and perform four or five circuits. Work out two or three days a week.

It's time. Get fit. Get outside and soak up the sunshine. Use these four tips to ditch that stubborn muffin top and start feeling fabulous.

Article Reviewed: November 9, 2014
Copyright © 2015 Healthy Magazine

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