The name is cute, but the look? Not so much.The so-called muffin top is that dreaded fleshy roll that spills over our waistbands, making us resemble a giant muffin in a baking pan.With summer on the way and clingier t-shirts in our wardrobe, its a look wed like to do without. But is it possible?
Yes. Muffin tops are simply made up of excess fat of the abdominal area, and if youve got a muffin top, youve probably got love handles (i.e. squishy hips.) Just like every other shape-up plan, theres only one way to rid yourself of muffin top: diet and exercise. Exercise will make your abdomen and sides firmer, while a good eating plan will make you slimmer. (As always, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.)
To blast your midriff into shape, target your sides. From a standing position, you can raise your legs straight out from your side and then lower them. If you love water aerobic, you can do the same thing in the pool by holding on to the wall and raising and lowering each leg. You can do a few laps, too, since swimming is a good exercise to get your heart pumping and your body moving.
Unknown ObjectOther cardio exercises you might want to try include jogging, power walking, cycling and aerobics. Anything that gets your heart rate up and your body moving burns fat. Exercise for just as long as you feel comfortable; dont push yourself to pain or exhaustion. Its better to work out consistently at a lower level.
Another great method for reducing a pudgy middle is kickboxing. Its side-kicks, twisting and jumping side-to-side target the midriff. The fact that its movements are high intensity means you really can't beat this as a muffin top minimizer. Other strengthening exercises like yoga and Pilates are good choices. Again, though, make sure youre exercising at a comfortable level. Some fitness routines, like Pilates, can be difficult.
As for your diet, avoid the usual suspects: processed food, red meat, sugar and alcohol. Focus on vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and drink water to hydrate. You do need some fat for energy, so ask your doctor how much is appropriate for you daily.
If youre looking for some really quick fixes while youre getting underway with your shapeup plan, it helps to stand up straight so your tummy wont protrude any more than it already does. And make sure your pants dont fit too tightly around your waist; that only makes a muffin top seem bigger than it really is.
Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Relationship Repair.
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