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Spot Reduction Doesn't Work

You'll see lots of exercise programs, devices and machines in television commercials that claim to get rid of fat from your belly. While they can strengthen your belly muscles, there is no such thing as spot reduction.

When you take in more calories than your body burns, you store them as fat. Some people store fat primarily in their hips and are at low risk for heart attacks and diabetes, while others who store their fat primarily in their bellies are at increased risk for heart attacks and diabetes. You store more that half the fat in your body underneath your skin and over your muscles. Exercising a muscle does not get rid of fat over the specific muscles that are exercised. If it did, tennis players would have less fat in their tennis arms, but they don't.

Exercises and "ab" machines can strengthen sagging belly muscles, but they will not remove extra fat from your belly. The only way to lose fat from the place where you store most of your fat (whether it's your belly or your hips) is to lose weight overall.

Checked 5/23/13

June 22nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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