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             FITNESS TIPS FOR 10/8/2003    

The Spot Reduction Myth 

You've heard a lot of talk about "six-pack abs" and "trimming those problem 
areas." A product that is supposed to help weight loss and tone up a 
specific part of your body is shown in most of theseads. 

Contrary to what these commercials suggest, there is no such thing as spot 
reduction. No one can "spot reduce", you can't pick a particular area of body 
fat and lose that fat. Fat is lost throughout the body in a pattern dependent 
upon genetics, sex (hormones), and age. But you can change your body 
shape and tone muscles by following a low-fat diet that restricts calories 
and engaging in aerobic exercise and strength training. 

Overall body fat must be reduced to lose fat in any particular area. Although 
fat is lost or gained throughout the body, it seems the last area to become 
lean or the first area to get fat is the midsection (in men and some women) 
and hips and thighs (in women and few men). Sit-ups, crunches, hip raises, 
leg raises, hip adduction, hip abduction, etc. will only exercise the muscles 
under the fat -  but do not burn off that fat in that area!

The 3 steps for weight loss and an improved body shape are:

1) Perform aerobic exercise like jogging, biking or aerobic dance that keeps 
you moving and raises your heart rate for at least 20 minutes at a time, 3 
times a week. For more effective long-term weight control, exercise for 
45 minutes at a time, 4 times a week.

2) Tone your muscles with strength training.

3) Eat a well balanced but lower calorie diet.

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