Avoiding the middle-age spread

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The period between the ages of 35 and 45 can be exciting for change, opportunity, prosperity and positive personal growth. But, before you know it, the growth that becomes the most present in your life is the spare tire that wraps around your midsection. Most commonly known as the middle-age spread, this unwelcome feature to your physique is a compilation of the choices you make throughout your life in regard to the food you eat, your daily activity levels and the quality of sleep you log each night.

To successfully fight the battle of the bulge, you have to arm yourself with an active lifestyle that extends past the gym, make good whole food choices, and reserve enough time in your busy schedule for a restful night’s sleep.

Stand Up for a Healthy Belly

Try performing most strength training exercises standing up whenever possible. Even if you aren’t directly working the core, you still have to stabilize the trunk and midsection muscles when you are in an upright position.

In addition to consistently working out regularly, daily non-exercise physical activity such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car in the spot furthest away from the door and taking regular recess breaks from your desk to walk or stretch, will help combat your middle-age spread and sedentary adult-life tendencies.

Eat Good Food

While fad diets that target the abs and mid-section may seem like the best choice when you’re trying to reduce your spare tire, feeding your belly without fueling your bulge actually can be a lot simpler than following a strict eating plan. Here are some guidelines:

-90% of what you eat should be “good food” – it comes naturally from the earth (fruits, vegetables, etc.) or it has a mother (meats, eggs, fish, etc.)

-Everything that comes in a package or a container shouldn’t be a part of your diet.

-Stay away from foods without expiration dates or with a long shelf life.

-Shop around the perimeter of the store where most fresh, preservative-free foods exist.

Collect Your Z’s

Just like you have to make deposits into your bank account regularly to be financially vibrant, it is just as important to deposit regular hours of sleep each night into your body’s wellness account to maintain the balance of your energy, hormones and internal clock.

When you sleep poorly, you typically don’t eat well and then you don’t have enough energy to work out or move more throughout your day. Skimping on your sleep can start a negative chain reaction that leads to enlarged mid-sections, increased mental and physical stress, and unhealthy lifestyle choices.

If you don’t put in the time to take care of yourself properly and don’t make your health a priority, then it will ultimately be impossible to stop the middle-age spread from expanding your waistline and negatively impacting your overall health. Take a stand against the belly bulge as you close out the year by making good food choices, exercising and sleep a priority in your life.

Lenny Turi is a certified personal trainer and owner of Fitness Together in Waxhaw.

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