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Against abdominal fat a help from tai chi

Against abdominal fat a help from tai chi

Visceral fat is the fat located in the abdomen, the classic pot belly. This fat is not inert but can increase cardiovascular risk and inflammation. So how to reduce the waistline? A help seems to come from tai chi, a practice that combines martial arts, movement and meditation, as emerges from a recent scientific research published in the Annals of internal Medicine (Siu et al, Ann Intern Med, 2021).

The danger of visceral fat

Visceral fat is not inert but a true endocrine organ that produces hormones and releases substances that increase inflammation. Not only that, visceral fat is often associated with hypertension, hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia with a reduction in HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol. This is why it is important to counteract visceral fat. But how? Several scientific studies have been dedicated to answer this question. Now, we know that a help may come from certain spices, foods and drinks, such as turmeric, green tea, foods rich in carotenoid, such a watermelon, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin, apricots and spinach. Exercise also reduces visceral fat. From today, we know that an aid also comes from a discipline that is spreading almost everywhere, tai chi.

Visceral fat and tai chi, the experiment

To understand the effects of tai chi on visceral fat, the researchers recruited 543 participants, all over the age of 50 and with visceral fat. The volunteers were divided into three groups, the first group was used as a control, the second was subjected to resistance training session and aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, swimming or any low intensity but long duration physical activity, the third took part in tai chi lessons. The experiment lasted three months.

Tai chi reduces visceral fat

Before starting the experiment and at the end, waist circumference, body weight, body mass index, triglycerides and good HDL cholesterol were evaluated. What emerged was that the two groups that underwent physical exercise and tai chi both had a decrease in waist circumference compared to the control group. The tai chi group had a higher effect than the exercise group. Not only that, both interventions led to a reduction in body weight. HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol, also benefited from both aerobic activity and tai chi as in the two groups subjected to these treatments its decrease was less than in the control group. Waist circumference and body weight were maintained even at the end of aerobic activities and tai chi. Instead, the observed benefits on good cholesterol have only been maintained for a limited time.

Conclusions

Therefore tai chi is also added to the practices to combat abdominal fat and metabolic syndrome, with benefits for the heart but also for the general health of the body.
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