A flat stomach is a key ingredient in the recipe for a beach-ready body, but keeping your stomach flat is tough even when you're young and active. As you age, changes in your body can make keeping a flat stomach more difficult, and if you're less active you might start packing on weight around your midsection. Heredity can also play a role, and not everyone can get washboard abs. With regular exercise and a healthy diet, though, you can maintain a healthy weight and may be able to keep your stomach flat.
The Aging Process
Aging can make it harder to maintain the body of your dreams. After menopause, your body creates less estrogen, and this can cause you to pack on weight around your stomach and waist. Pregnancy can also play a role. During pregnancy, your stomach stretches and some women find that their body weight is distributed differently after giving birth. Post-baby weight can be hard to shed, particularly if you're distracted by the demands of motherhood, and this can play a major role in stomach weight gain as you age.
It's not just the aging process itself that can cause your stomach to puff up. Lifestyle changes can affect your weight as well. Young people may be involved in college sports and, if they don't work office jobs, might be more active during the day. As you age, you might become less active with fewer opportunities for exercise. Health conditions that sometimes coincide with the aging process, such as muscle pain and arthritis, can make exercise more challenging, making it less likely that you'll get the exercise you need.
Regular aerobic exercise is the key for getting rid of stomach fat. When you run, bicycle, walk or jump rope, you burn more calories than you do when doing endless situps. As you age, you might need to do more aerobic exercise to keep off the pounds. A pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories and you can usually burn one to two pounds of fat each week through intense aerobic exercise. You might need as much as 300 minutes of aerobic exercise each week to lose weight.
Targeted training won't help you get rid of fat, but it will build muscle. If you have more muscle, you'll burn more calories during your daily workout, and a muscular stomach is a hallmark of a perfect bikini body. Try exercises such as crunches, situps and planks to tone up as you shed fat.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.