Do your pants don’t fit you anymore?
And your tummy has started bulging out of your body?
Well, the weight and especially visceral fat can get to the best of us.
And the good news is – you can fit again in your pants. But how?
Well, that takes healthy eating and fun ways like swimming and calisthenics.
But the most important thing to sort out is WHY are you getting out of shape? Once you lose it, can this ugly fat get back to you?
You can get back in no time simply because of your unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle… junk food, no exercise, not getting enough sleep, sugary drinks, and all of the above stress contribute to fat accumulation in your body.
Now, let’s try to understand why visceral fat is building up around your waist and making your pants tighter daily.
What is Visceral Fat:
Visceral fat is the hidden fat stored deep inside your belly and wrapped around the organs, including the liver and intestine. Approximately 10% of the total fat stored in the body is composed of it.
Once you gain weight, visceral fat increases, causing the belly to bulge out and giving you an “apple-shaped body.
And that’s not all – Once it appears on your body, visceral fat produces toxic chemicals and hormones harmful to the body. It is more common in men than women.
And if you think you’re skinny and don’t have Visceral Fat, you may be in for a surprise – even skinny people may have visceral fat!
What are the Causes of Visceral Fat?
There are several causes of visceral fat. Some of these are listed below
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Poor sleep
- Too much alcohol
These factors cause weight gain, slow down metabolism, and reduce fat-burning capacity.
Fat begins to store in the body when you take in too many calories. It may be due to…
- Prolonged sitting and not burning excess calories.
- An inactive lifestyle is the most significant contributor.
- Some people may also blame their genetics for the fat stored in the belly.
- Women tend to store more fat after menopause.
- With aging, women are more likely to develop visceral fat in their belly, even if they don’t gain weight.
- Men also develop visceral fat due to aging and genetics, but drinking too much alcohol can also trigger visceral fat deposition.
What are the Health Risks Of Visceral Fat?
There are many health risks involved as you gain weight in any form. Now visceral fat is also called “active fat,” which releases several hormones and is responsible for various severe health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, irregular insulin levels, liver diseases, fertility disorders, asthma, cancer, etc.
According to recent research, visceral fat leads to obesity, which is a unique metabolic disorder; it may cause
- Insulin resistance
- Increased blood pressure
- Endothelial dysfunction
How to measure Visceral Fat?
Approximately 10% of your total body fat is visceral fat. You can determine your visceral fat level by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your visceral fat range will increase when your body fat percentage is above the recommended level.
The following are some other ways to calculate visceral fat percentage.
- Waist Measurement: For an accurate waist measurement, wrap a tape around your midsection, ensuring it is positioned just above your hip bones. Now, in the case of women, if this value is 35 inches or more, you may be at risk of health problems due to visceral fat. In the case of men, this value is 40 inches or more.
- Waist-to-Hip Ratio: Wrap the tape around your waist just above the hip bone to get the waist size, then wrap the tape around the widest part of the hip to get the hip size. Now, divide your waist size by your hip size. You’ve got a visceral fat man! If you get the answer more than 0.85 in females or 0.90 in males.
- Body Mass Index: The BMI calculator can easily calculate BMI and is readily available online. In this calculation, you divide your weight in kgs by your height in meters. A BMI higher than 30 indicates you have high-fat content in your body.
- Waist-Height Ratio: In this method, you divide your waist size by height. If your ratio is more than 0.5 (both in males and females), you have high visceral fat. The waist-height ratio is preferred by most healthcare providers and is considered to be an accurate marker.
Does swimming help us reduce visceral fat?
The most critical question arises: “Does swimming help us reduce visceral fat? The simple answer to this question is yes.
Will it give you instant results? The honest answer is No.
It is a long-term benefit that you observe after some time. Swimming helps reduce the overall weight, and when you continue to swim, it also melts the visceral fat.
Reduce Visceral Fat by Swimming:
Swimming is the best water-based exercise to shed extra pounds. It’s a whole-body, low-impact workout that not only benefits younger people but is also beneficial for older adults.
Swimming and other pool-based exercises have several healthy impacts on your body. Some of these are listed below
- burns calories
- strengthen muscles
- improves cardiovascular health
- elevate joint mobility
- Improves mental health
However, water-based exercises have unique features that make it much easier for everyone to tone up. One of these is the weightlessness you feel in the water. And the other is the multidirectional resistance of water on your body.
According to research, water reduces body weight, lessening stress on joints and bones. Due to this, it is suitable for older adults and those with painful joints, such as arthritis and gout.
Secondly, water is 800 times denser than air. When you immerse yourself in water, it exerts resistance on your body from all sides. It requires more effort by the muscles to do exercise in water.
Pool Exercises That Burn Visceral Fat:
Always remember to perform these exercises 10-15 minutes in the pool after swimming to increase the burnout effect.
1- Flutter Kicks:
The first exercise is to perform flutter kicks; you can perform them without a pool float noodle, which is the more challenging variation, or with a pool float noodle, which would be the regression, more manageable version of this exercise.
You need to perform an L shape and engage your abdomen; it’s not only about kicking…but feeling the burn on your abs and obliques on every kick!
Perform about 5 to 10 kicks frontally, then move your direction for ten more kicks to the left and right sides. It’s a unique and easy swimming exercise if you’re looking to burn belly fat.
The goal is to engage your abs and compress your abdomen on each kick.
2- Single knee oblique crunches:
The second exercise is single knee oblique crunches. This exercise can be performed with a float for a more accessible version or without a float to make it more difficult.
As the name suggests, you must crunch your knees side to side, a technique similar to the previous exercise. You must engage and compress your abs, feel the pressure on your obliques, and put more intensity into these exercises for a more effective result!
3- Ab floater compression:
In this exercise, you have to keep your abs compressed while you float and start to paddle with your hands forward and backward.
To ensure you do this exercise correctly, put your feet together, bring your toes outside the water, and keep them out for the entire exercise; this will allow you to keep your muscles engaged.
Ensure you keep a neutral head position, start paddling with your hands, and try to feel that compression. Do this up and down the lane for a few laps.
4- Crunches Side Kicks:
The following exercise is CRUNCHES SIDE KICKS, a similar variation of knee crunches, but this time, you need to extend your legs together to one side, bring them back in the middle, and quickly extend again to the other side. Once you get the momentum, try to speed up.
Ensure you don’t rotate or move your head, keep looking forward, and maintain your head in a neutral position.
You can also keep looking at one point somewhere in the pool and only focus on the movement of the lower part of the body.
Ab Stability Rotation:
It is more of an ab stability rotation and mobility exercise, as you must find the right balance. Start by kicking and paddling with hands, heads, and feet outside the water. Count 5 seconds and rotate from your back to your front but keeping your head outside the water.
Keep stability and balance, and repeat the same process from front to back. Continue to perform this movement until you are out of breath! In this exercise, you also need to engage your abs, but paddling your hands does all the job in the rotation part.
Reduce Visceral Fat by Calisthenics:
Calisthenics is a form of exercise that utilizes your own weight as resistance. Calisthenics requires no fancy equipment and no expensive gym. These exercises can be performed at home. The only things that are required for calisthenics are mindset and consistency.
The best thing about calisthenics is that these exercises can be tailored to target specific muscle groups. So, these exercises are outstanding for trimming visceral fat. Calisthenics have an edge over other exercises that can be performed at a lower pace for beginners and older adults. As you master it, you can increase the difficulty level.
Calisthenics have uncountable advantages. Some of them are
- Whole body workout
- Increases strength and endurance
- Builds muscle mass
- Low impact
- Improves coordination
- Enhances mobility
- Boosts mental health
Several exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, squats, and burpees help you reduce overall body fat, keeping you fit and active. But when you talk about visceral fat and, more specifically, stubborn belly fat, calisthenics exercises like flutter kicks, crunches, reverse crunches, leg raises, and mountain climbers may help.
Lie on the floor with your arms to the sides for flutter kicks. Tighten the ABS to set your core. Lift your shoulders about ten centimeters off the ground and your feet thirty centimeters off the ground, keeping the low back in a neutral position. Hold this position and then flutter kick for about 60 seconds or until you cannot do it.
The main emphasis should be on keeping the low back in a stable position.
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and arms crossed on your chest with your just below your shoulders. Engage your core, and keep your neck and spine in line. Lift your shoulders off the mat slowly and steadily, keeping your feet fixed to the mat.
Now, a pro tip is to exhale when you curl forward and inhale when you lower down.
Reverse crunches are perfect for targeting lower abs. In reverse crunches, you must lie on your back and raise your legs to bring your knees at a 90-degree angle. Lift your hips and tailbone off the mat and hold the position for 1-2 minutes.
The pro tip for reverse crunches is to keep your arms firmly on the floor and not use them to lift you.
You can try many variations to make your crunches more challenging. You can try bicycle crunches or overhead crunches. You can also do ball crunches.
Start by sitting in a bent knee position and tightening your abdominal muscles. Then, lean backward and lift your feet about 10 to 15 centimeters off the ground. Hold your ball at your chest in your hands and rotate to one side, moving only with your trunk. Then, quickly reverse the movement and rotate to the opposite side.
Keep your twists at a reasonably fast pace, and then continue until you’ve completed the number of repetitions in your set.
While doing this exercise, keep the ball close to your chest because if you hold it too far away from your chest and emphasize touching it to the ground, you might compensate by using your shoulder muscles instead of your abdominal muscles, which are the focus of this exercise.
Along with exercise, several other factors contribute to healthy weight loss and visceral fat reduction, like maintaining a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, stress management, and stopping snacks all the time, especially midnight snacking. Visit Swimcore for more!