Perhaps One Of The Very Tragic And Self Induced Epidemics In The United States Today Is Obesity
Posted Feb 02 2009 11:11pm
Obesity is presently considered an ‘epidemic’ in the U.S., with 33% of Americans considered overweight and an astonishing 10% considered obese. Much of this is due to the change in the American diet in the last forty years, with the rise of microwave foods, and a hustling work ethic that says it’s better to eat lunch at your cubicle and skip exercising.
We reap what we sow, and in no place is that more prevelant than in the arena of health and fitness. Most American people are carrying too much fat around the waist line, and trying to remove flab in trouble spots is a lot of work. The general attempts at dropping fat boil down to supplements, diet, and exercise.
Supplements usually promise to make you lose weight either in general or in specific areas - you’ve seen the television ads for diet supplements. Diets work in the short term, when you need to fit into a specific outfit, but most of the weight loss from diets is temporary without making a severe lifestyle change in how you deal with food.
Exercise (and moderating what you eat) is the key to getting your waist under control. Most of the good workouts for losing weight target the abdominal muscles first and foremost. This is part of the reason why there’s such a big market for the ‘ab-gadget’ on tv. By building up the strength of the abdominal muscles (and the lower back muscles to assist them) you’re building what’s called core body strength.
The simplest form of stomach muscle workouts start with the beloved crunch - put your knees up at a 90 degree angle (so you don’t use your hip flexors to torque up) and cross your arms, and sit up until your elbows touch your knees. Do this in moderation at first - it’s really easy to go overboard with it. The goal is to do a set of 5 at a time, rest until your breathing comes easy, do another set of 5 and repeat. As this gets easier, hold a weight to your chest while you do it. Do this every other day, and on the off days, take time to walk or run, or do yoga to keep your muscles loose.
As you work out with your abdominals, especially after you’ve added some weight to your crunches, start doing other workouts - shoulder lifts and shrugs with a dumbbell in each hand will work off of the abdominal workout you’ve been doing with your abs, and help condition your chest and shoulders, giving you an overall sculpted look.
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