Missy Corrigan from Sumter YMCA: Shrink Your Waist

Contribution to health and fitness

Studies have repeatedly shown that a larger waistline is linked to an increased risk of health problems, particularly type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some doctors claim that trimming your waistline is more important than just focusing on losing weight. As we get older, the weight tends to increase and fat seems to settle in the middle. And when the waistline expands, the health risks increase.

Body fat, or adipose tissue, is considered part of the endocrine system. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “The hormones that are made and released by the glands in your body’s endocrine system control almost everything in your body. These chemicals help coordinate your body’s functions, from metabolism to growth and development, emotions, mood, sexual function, and even sleep. “

Glands that produce too much or too little hormones can cause an imbalance that leads to various health problems, including weight and fat gain. Endocrine diseases include thyroid disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. When women have low levels of estrogen and men low levels of testosterone, bones can become more fragile, increasing the risk of a break or fall.

Belly fat is stored in the abdominal cavity and just under the skin. Where the fat is stored in the body is largely determined by genetics and hormones. Subcutaneous fat sits just under the skin, over the muscle. It’s what you can actually pinch and grab.

Visceral fat surrounds the organs in the abdominal cavity. You can’t grab it because it’s under your abs. This type of fat is considered to be the most harmful for general health, as it surrounds the organs and can disrupt metabolic processes and the functioning of hormones. Studies have shown that this type of fat is more likely to be associated with type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease than subcutaneous fat.

There are many factors that can affect the functioning of the body’s hormones. Some recommended ways to balance hormones and support the endocrine system include eating healthy fats, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods, exercising regularly, managing stress, and getting plenty of sleep.

These healthy habits can help you reduce body fat and reduce your health risks as well. In addition, measuring the circumference of the abdomen with a tape measure on the belly button can help track changes. Since you can’t control where the fat cells begin to shrink, focus on healthier habits to support the endocrine system for better results.

Missy Corrigan is the director of community health for the Sumter Family YMCA. She can be reached at or (803) 773-1404.

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