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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Seniors - Fit After 50

Spot reducing is a big, fat myth
Rating: 2.82 / 5 (202 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Feb 09 - 19:10
If your favorite white shirt gets a tomato sauce stain on it, it's usually quite easy to mix in a little stain remover and wash it out - spot gone.

If you need to take a little off of your thighs or belly, you simply work the problem area until the rumple is gone, just like a pair of socks or a tomato sauce stain. Right? Wrong.Getting rid of troublesome areas on our bodies and smoothing rumples requires much more effort than simply working the area until it goes away.It is true that when you want a specific area toned, you must work the muscles - spot toning if you will.
But the myth of spot reducing, or peeling away layers of fat in one area, is unfortunately, just that - a myth. It comes down to pure and simple physiology.Our bodies are miraculously protected by a fatty layer of tissue. This tissue serves as insulation by keeping heat in and cold out.
It also serves to protect vital organs from damage, storage for fat-soluble vitamins, aids females in birthing healthy babies, and some Darwinists would claim it serves as an element of buoyancy for many tribes of people who have lived their lives by the sea.Unfortunately, fat accumulates as we take in too much energy and don't burn it off at the same rate.

This can lead to an abundance of problems if not curtailed in its early stages, but that's another story.Men tend to accumulate fat around their midsections and back. Women tend to accumulate it on their hips and thighs. Isn't it odd that the very same places we accumulate fat is where society says we look best if we have none?The problem facing the concerned population is the removal of excess body fat from these areas.You lose fat in the exact opposite way as you put it on.
You must burn off more energy than you are taking in. I told you it was simple. After a while, under this deficit, the fat begins to melt away.

There is no cream, no pill and no miracle diet.You burn off more energy by exercising, especially aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate. You take in less energy by being particular about where you find your energy (food) sources.If you have ever lost weight (I believe we all have at some point), the first thing someone says to you is that your face got thin.
Do you know why?Your face, as a general rule, has less fat on it than other parts of your body. That's why when someone loses a lot of weight, his or her appearance changes so drastically.On the other end of the spectrum are your problem areas.When you lose 20 percent body fat, you lose it uniformly throughout your whole body.

The drastic amount that has appeared to be gone from your face is actually gone from your hips, back, belly, waist, arms and thighs, but it doesn't seem as drastic because we hold more fat cells in those areas.Unlike resistance exercise where you can tone a specific area, body fat is lost uniformly. It's recommended that resistance exercise be included in your daily program.

An increase in muscle mass can assist in burning body fat.Now you know nature's cruel joke on us all: spot reducing is a myth.But don't forget: when someone says your face looks thin, your problem areas are getting thinner, too.Paul Cole is a certified fitness instructor and owner of Fit After 50 in Indialantic. Contact him at (321) 777-3534 or at pncole@msn.com.

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