Do Sit Ups Make Your Waist Smaller?

Situps can strengthen your abdominals, but won't reduce fat.
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If you think situps can make your waist smaller, it's time for a wake-up call. Solely doing abdominal-strengthening exercises such as situps isn't going to whittle away fat from your waistline. Reducing fat in one area of your body isn't possible. To make your waist smaller, you must lose fat from your entire body and eventually that stubborn tummy fat will reduce. You might have to adjust your lifestyle and exercise habits, but in the long run you'll be healthier and look and feel better.

Dangers of Excess Belly Fat

Although the visible fat around your waistline, also known as subcutaneous fat, might bother you, it's the visceral, invisible fat around your organs that is more dangerous. It increases your risk of health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women with a waist of 35 inches or more, and men with a waist circumference of 40 inches of more, have excess belly fat and should take steps to improve their health.

Strength Training

Making situps part of a full-body strength-training routine can result in a toned, smaller waist. Strength training builds muscle tissue, which increases your resting metabolic rate so you burn calories long after your workout. Muscle tissue takes up less space compared to fat, so you'll look leaner all over. The CDC recommends strength training at least twice a week, and targeting the large muscle groups, such as your legs, chest, abdomen, shoulders, arms and hips. Use your body weight, free weights or weightlifting machines for resistance.

Cardiovascular Exercise

Doing at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on five days of the week can help you burn calories and make your waist smaller. The CDC suggests exercising hard enough so you work up a sweat and raise your heart rate, but are still able to talk. Find activities you enjoy doing, such as playing group sports, jogging or riding a bike. If more convenient, break up your workout into three 10-minute segments and spread them over the day.

Lifestyle Adjustments

No matter how much you exercise, if you don't eat a sensible diet, your waistline won't get smaller. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats can go a long way. According to bestselling author Dr. Marilyn Glenville, Ph. D., reducing stress in your life can also contribute to reducing your waistline. Glenville states that stress triggers the release of cortisol, resulting in cravings for fattening foods. The fat you gain settles around your waist where it's near the liver in case it needs to be converted to energy.

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