Vanity might be enough to motivate men to lose a beer belly, but good health is reason to lose extra weight, too. According to David Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, shedding that extra layer of belly fat can have a profound impact on how you look, feel, and perform in all areas of your life. Here are just a few ways that belly fat can mess with your health.
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- Losing belly fat can enhance your sex life. Researchers found that obese people were 25 times more likely to report sexual problems than normal-weight folks. "Being heavier is going to interfere with self-esteem and the comfort of sexual activity," Katz says. Being overweight can also cause erectile dysfunction. Losing weight and exercise can help restore your libido and sexual function.
- Belly fat can lower testosterone. Obesity is linked to low levels of testosterone -- the sex hormone that puts hair on your chest, power in your muscles, and oomph in your sex drive. Low testosterone can also wreak havoc on your energy levels, motivation, and overall sense of well-being.
- Belly fat promotes a couch potato lifestyle and vice versa. The couch potato lifestyle can make reaching for the remote feel like an endurance event. Your muscles go flabby, and your heart and lungs can't deliver enough blood and oxygen to your body. More important than going on a diet to drop a few pounds is exercising regularly, says Noel Bairey-Merz, MD, director of the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.
- Losing belly fat helps relieve joint and back pain. Obesity and inactivity can lead to and worsen back pain, achy joints, and arthritis. If you lose weight, the pain will clear up. Luckily, small losses add up to big benefits. Losing just one pound of weight will take four pounds of stress off your joints.
- Losing belly fat helps prevent heart disease and diabetes. Belly fat is an independent risk factor for death from heart disease. Unfortunately, men who are prone to belly fat are also more likely to have more plaque in their arteries, inflammation, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, and/or heart disease, or to suffer heart failure. Losing weight, not smoking, exercising, and eating right can save you from that fate.
Vanity might be enough to motivate men to lose a beer belly, but
good health is reason to lose extra weight, too. According to David
Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale
University School of Medicine, shedding that... More