by Angela Reed-Fox
Let's talk about visceral fat. This is the fat that collects around your vital organs and raises your risk of cardiovascular disease. As with most things (except morris-dancing and a coupla other things) moderation is the key. A little bit of visceral fat is normal and not harmful. It's only a problem when it accumulates and raises the risk of strokes, heart attacks, obesity and high blood pressure.
Yep, you're not keen.
How can you measure it?
Well the most accurate way is dissection. But that's a bit final. And you wouldn't be in work the following Monday... but some body analyser scales have a feature that measures visceral fat. On the one hand no, it's not super-accurate - but actually, you don't need super-accurate, you need reassurance that you're going in the right direction - and quality scales will help you with this.
Aaaaaargh! I need to get rid of this visceral fat!
Well, you'll be relieved to know there is a way. The Mayo CLini have just published the results of a study - and they found regular exercise (cardiovascular or resistance, or both) produced much better results than medication over the same six month period.
Exercise is magical. One doctor said to me 'It's the wonder drug no one wants to take' - and it's true. There are excellent side effects such as reduced blood pressure, improved mood, reduced diabetes risk and all sorts of things - and the corresponding risks are minimal. If it were an actual pill, there'd be a whole heap of hype about it.
But I'm not losing any weight with my exercise!
Exercise, particularly anything involving resistance (indoor cycling, weights etc) will improve, strengthen and build muscle tissue - which can mask fat loss as the muscle is heavier than fat, but takes up less space.
But what's happening deep inside - is you're losing visceral fat, you're reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. And you're going a good thing. Keep at it.
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