Middle Age Spread - How To Stop The Pot Belly

Middle Age Spread, will it happen to me? Well at some stage probably, unless.....

Why is it once we hit our 40's it seems that weight gain becomes a fact of life. A sudden accumulation around our stomach and waistline, a tyre or even a pot belly! It can happen to anyone, even slim people who have been slim all their life without even trying and sport types. Why?

The primary reason is related to the hormonal changes that begin to take place in our body. Oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are all nicely balanced and once we start to leave our 30's this balance over time can significantly alter, in both men and women.

Our metabolism slows. Suddenly you've found that the diet you stuck to over all those years where , your body weight has remained the same, now results in additional pounds being put on slowly. It could be a pound a year, but unless you alter your diet you will put on weight. And guess where that weight gain goes, yes, around your mid riff. In addition, you are more likely to exercise less as well.

This fat gain is clearly not good for you. It has been linked to both diabetes and heart and cardiovascular disease, as that fat will sit around some of your major organs.

The Body Mass Index or BMI is a useful tool, however, it's based on weight and does not measure fat vs muscle. There will be a number of people whose BMI is actually ok, but have still have too much fat due to a loss of muscle once you reach this age group. So, one suggested idea is to look at your waist to hip ratio. Measuring your waistline first, as a guide women should be 32inches (80cm) or less and men should be 37inches (94cm) or less. Anything over means you are at a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease. Now measure your hips and divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. Guys you should be no higher than 0.9, ladies no higher than 0.8.

Another additional resource you may find useful is a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) Calculator which calculates calorie requirements based on your age, height and the activity you take. You'll notice that as you increase your age within the calculator, your calorie requirement decreases.

So if this is happening to you and you don't want to be apple shaped, what can you do about it. First, look at your diet. Cut out processed foods and saturated fat. Items like butter, cakes, biscuits, full fat milk, white bread, ready made meals.

As well as diet, you must look at exercise. If the thought of running fills you with dread, start walking. Your body needs 30 minutes plus of aerobic exercise 5 times a week. Leave the car at home and walk to the shops. Go swimming, do something! A small amount of weight training or muscle exercise will also help keep muscle and not fat. Keep the exercise fun.

So look after your body, eat healthily, do some exercise and keep that tyre at bay. Let us know your experiences.

Lana Soko is passionate about health and writes for

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