Approximately a quarter of all adults in the UK are currently clinically obese. This means that they have a BMI of 25 or higher, which immediately puts them at greater risk of developing a range of health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
However, the real clue to your health might not lie in the scales, but in your waistline and more specifically, your waist size. According to the NHS, carrying too much weight around your middle can really increase chances of developing a serious illness, in fact, more so than other areas of the body.
Waist Size: A Growing Problem?
One thing is for certain; the average waist size in the UK is definitely on the increase. Since the 1950s, the average woman’s waist size has grown from 27” to 34”, which is an increase of 7 inches in 65 years!
This is certainly problematic for your health. You’re at a higher risk of developing health problems if your waist is over 31.5” for a woman or 37” for a man. If your waist measures over 34.5” (woman) or 40” (man) then you’re in the highest risk category.
Would you like to find out more? Listen to Dr Chris talking about Waist Size & BMI on the video below.
Reducing your Waist Size with Exercise
One of the most effective ways to minimise your waist measurements is to increase your exercise. However, when it comes to your waistline, not all exercises are created equal. Here’s some of the best ones to tone your tummy area.
1) Pilates. According to Nahid de Belgeonne from Good Vibes Fitness, Pilates ‘works muscles to create a strong and stable core, and tone your waistline’. Regularly attending a Pilates class will help to develop the muscles in the stomach, which will reduce the measurements of your waistline.
2) Curl-ups. Sit-ups are obviously excellent for toning the stomach area, but they can put a lot of pressure on the neck and spine, resulting in long-term damage. Instead, try the curl-up. Lie on your back and tuck your hands, palm-down, under the small of your back. Bend the knees and lift your head and shoulders slightly off the floor.
Professor Stuart McGill from the University of Waterloo, Canada, says: ‘You don’t need to crunch up much to get a desired response from your entire abdominal muscle complex’. This enables you to do more of them, which means you’ll see results in a shorter space of time.
3) Hula-hooping. If you’re physically fit, then have a go at hula-hooping. This involves all the muscles in the waist, and can really help lose fat in the area.
How Can You Tell if it’s Working?
The most effective way to tell whether or not your exercises are having an effect is to take a measurement. Using a tape measure, record your results on a weekly basis, which will help you to monitor your progress.
It’s also a good idea to have a goal in mind; though make sure you’re realistic about what you can achieve. If you need help and advice getting started, book an appointment with your doctor, who will be able to offer useful guidance, plus make suggestions regarding a healthy eating plan to accompany your exercises.