Calling all men!
Are you wondering why, as you age, you develop a “potbelly”? Believe it or not, men go through a male-version of menopause called andropause which is often a contributing factor for weight gain and belly fat. During andropause, testosterone decreases and the stress hormone, cortisol, increases. Symptoms may include hot flashes, muscle loss, weight gain, low energy, reduced sex drive, irritability and insomnia, to name a few. Weight gain tends to occur around the midsection, creating a pot belly otherwise known as visceral fat. Elevated levels of visceral fat are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic health conditions.
I can hear you, saying, “What?!” Yes, this is all true. Weight gain, particularly in the midsection, combined with stress, lack of activity, a poor diet and the change in hormones associated with andropause, can signal your body to go into “survival mode” resulting in an increased production of fat cells and a progressive decrease in your body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.
Unfortunately, it is a fact of life. Fortunately, there is something you can do about weight gain, belly fat and a slowing metabolism.
First, minimize the stress in your life – listen to music, connect with a friend, get more sleep.
Second, be mindful of what you eat – be sure to consume quality foods that include fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, such as chicken and fish.
Third, increase your muscle mass and general fitness level by combining aerobic exercise with strength training. Weight loss will help increase testosterone levels in overweight and obese men. Furthermore, testosterone promotes an increase in muscle mass thereby increasing your metabolism and ultimately helping you to shed that unwanted pot belly.
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Before starting a workout routine, make sure you have medical clearance from your doctor. If you have been sedentary for quite some time, take it slow and progress at a moderate pace that still challenges you safely. A basic strength routine may look like this:
5-10 minute warm up with a walk/jog
(5) 10-15 second forearm plank holds
15 bodyweight squats with a medicine ball overhead press
15 walking lunges with bicep curls
15 deadlifts to bent over row
15 glute bridges followed by 15 push ups
5-10 minute cool down
Being active should be fun. Your exercise routine does not have to take place in a gym. Get creative and go to a nearby park, workout in your backyard or even in your living room. Whether you have equipment such as resistance bands, kettle bells, dumbbells or no weights at all, there is no excuse! It’s time to get fit and build an even better version of you.
(Read Part 1:Women, Weight Gain and Metabolism)
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