Many people, including medical community, focus mainly on weight and more recently on body mass index (BMI) to assess health condition. However, BMI does not account people like athletes or bodybuilders with greater muscle mass. That is why waist-to-hip ratio is more reliable. However, let’s not talk about waist-to-hip ratio this time and just look at waist measurement alone in this post.
In fact, excess abdominal fat is a good indicator that you are at higher risk for certain diseases. However, it is unclear exactly why excess abs fat can negatively impact health. Some study said that fat cells in this area may release more fatty acids into the blood circulation which then affect insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels. The end results are diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
No doubt, the most accurate way to measure the amounts and types of fat within the belly are to use medical scanning laboratory equipment such as CTs (computed tomography) or MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging). Having said that, these methods may not be practical for most people who want to monitor the measurement periodically because it can be very expensive. Therefore, a simpler method to estimate the amount of abs fat is to measure the waistline.
What I like about waist measurement is that it can be easily done. Here are the steps:
How To Measure Waist?
- Stand in front of a mirror, if necessary, to make sure you are positioning the tape measure correctly. A general rule of thumb is to measure about 1 cm below the belly button. That is your waist line.
- Stand up straight. Breathe out. Do not hold your breath or tuck in your stomach.
- Make sure the measuring tape is not too loose or too tight around your waist.
- When you take reading, make sure you are not holding the tape at an angle.
Once you have the figure, here are some general reference on the health conditions with the waist measurement:
Research has determined that the cut-off point where health risks significantly increase for certain diseases is:
- 40 inches (102 cm) for men
- 35 inches (88 cm) for women
1 inch is about 2.54 cm.
If you fall above one of those numbers, you should consider shedding the fat.
Bear in mind that age and ethnicity may affect waist size, partly due to genetics. Also, abdominal fat tends to increase with age in both men and women.
If you plan to reduce the fat at your abs by doing only crunches or sit-up, forget about it. You need to do three things – watch your diet, do cardiovascular exercise and weight training. Spot reductions like abs exercise or using those abs toners or even the magic slimming pills are not the surefire ways to your big belly problem.
If you are really keen to find out about your fat loss progress, instead of just measuring the the waistline, measure your body fat too. Check out the article of 4 Ways To Measure Body Fat.
With determination and hard work, I am sure you can be as good as Ryan Reynolds, if not better.
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