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This Month In Health
  • Where’s Your Fat?
    You know you need to lose weight for improved health, but did you know that where you carry fat affects your health in different ways? That’s right. Some overweight people are at a greater risk for disease than others who weigh the same amount. Read >>
  • Healthy Living for Your Liver
    The liver is not only your largest internal organ, but it’s also one of the most vital organs for life that is responsible for more than 500 different bodily functions. Lose the function of your liver and you won’t survive a single day. Read >>
  • Are Filtered Cigarettes Safer?
    Many people believe they’re at a lower risk of lung cancer because they smoke filtered cigarettes. Unfortunately for smokers, studies now show that’s not true. Read >>
  • What’s That Rash?
    There are dozens of different types of rashes, but one of the most common is called eczema. Affecting 10 to 20 percent of kids and roughly three percent of adults, eczema includes a broad range of conditions that cause the skin to become reddened and irritated. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Where’s Your Fat?

Whether you carry extra weight around your middle, on your hips, or all over, how you carry it matters.

People come in all shapes and sizes. There are tall or short people, fat and skinny folks, and everything in between. Maybe you’re overweight right now, but you’re working hard to get into shape. You know you need to lose weight for improved health, but did you know that where you carry fat affects your health in different ways? That’s right. Some overweight people are at a greater risk for disease than others who weigh the same amount.

Do you carry most of you excess weight around your middle like an apple or in your hips and thighs like a pear? You may not think it matters, but it makes a big difference.

The Danger of Being an Apple

Excess fat around your waistline is considered the most dangerous type of fat. Multiple studies have shown that apple-shaped people are at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease compared to people with the same body mass index who carry their weight in other areas.

Why is this? Belly fat, called visceral fat, surrounds internal organs such as your liver, intestines, and pancreas. This fat disrupts your body’s hormonal balance, immune system chemicals, and insulin sensitivity, all things that influence disease. With excess abdominal fat, you’re at an increased risk for high blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Despite your initial thought, the best way to shrink your waistline isn’t with more sit-ups and planks but with regular, intense cardio exercise. So get out and start moving! Since stress is a contributing factor to belly fat, stress reduction and management are also important factors for shrinking your midsection.

Pear: A Blessing in Disguise

Picture a pear in your mind. The top is thinner than the bottom. Pear-shaped people tend to carry their weight in the hips, thighs, and bottom. You may not be happy with the size and shape of your thighs, but you can breath a little easier. Weight carried below the waist isn’t as dangerous as around your middle. In fact, it may actually protect your health.

You may be surprised to know that folks with bigger hips, thighs, and bottom have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and early death. In fact, for both male and female, thinner thighs mean a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, and death. Not what you’d expect, is it?

This occurs because fat in your hips, thighs, and bottom help metabolize fat, trapping harmful fatty acids from reaching your organs. Less muscle mass in your lower body also means greater insulin resistance. Whereas abdominal fat releases chemicals that promote inflammation, fat in your lower body produces fewer harmful hormones.

Want to tone your legs and increase muscle mass? Be sure your workout routine includes aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. Spend two to three workouts a week doing strength-training exercises like squats, lunges, leg presses, and calf raises. With these added into your routine, you can get the legs you want and the overall health you deserve.

Looks Aren’t Everything

It’s obvious that being pear-shaped is better than being apple-shaped. Unfortunately, genetics largely determine where body fat is distributed. So while you may wish you could change from an apple to a pear, you can’t. Regardless of where you carry fat, your goal should be overall health and wellness. Work with your trainer to develop a diet and exercise plan so you’re no longer defined as an apple or pear but as an example of hard work and dedication to good health.