Women are fond of wearing waist trainers not only for the purpose of weight loss but also for the love of fashion. However, for medical experts, this fitness equipment may yield potential health risks that could either enhance or break a woman's figure.
Is waist training meant for a permanent solution to a slimmer waistline?
The 16th-century corset-style fashion is back, and some prominent celebrity names go crazy about it. But the question is, does waist training really effective to get an hourglass figure?
In theory, waist trainers resemble a 16th-century corset with an intention to cinch your waist, hips and back to provide you a gorgeous hourglass body shape. Waist trainer designers explain that if you wear them regularly over a certain period of time, your abdominal wall will eventually shrink down to your desired waistline. You can find these trending apparels in many women's boutiques, sold in different colors, sizes, and fabric materials. However, healthcare experts strongly disagree regarding the frequent usage of waist trainers as these fashion icons tend to yield more serious health implications than benefits.
Dr. D. Sajee Lekawa, an internist and medical director of the UCI Health Medical Group, believes that the ever-growing trend is the result of drastic cultural changes where everyone wants an "immediate" fix to a fitness problem. Waist trainers will only shape your body muscles for the time being since the body will eventually "find" its way back to its old form when you stop wearing the waist wraps. "It's a temporary reduction," the medical director says. "You're basically creating muscle atrophy where you're cinching your waist." But for regular users, waist training isn't harmful when only used for a limited time.
Waist trainers can provide a temporary relief to help overweight individuals enhance their body movements. Since the core muscles are tightly restrained, your stomach becomes compressed, making you eat less and feel full. Some fitness experts also explained the good benefits of wearing waist trainers when performing exercises particularly cardio workouts. Waist trainers accelerate the calorie-burning process because they induce body heat to make you sweat more.
The medical implications of waist trainers
Waist trainers are used as a temporary solution to keep your hard-earned hourglass figure in shape. With regular use, your body is trained to retain the size of your waistline. These fitness equipment complement appetite suppression, hip mobility and best of all, weight loss due to a step-up fat burning process. But the most important is to use the appropriate waist trainer that suits your preferred style and comfortable material.
Benefits of wearing a waist trainer for a shorter time may include:
- Improved posture and confidence
- Improved flexibility
- Better fitness workout performance
- Reduced food intake especially on high carbs
- Alternative choice to your current fashion statement
Now the problem is, waist training is believed to cause serious health issues, traced back from the Victorian period according to UCI Health chief Dr. Lekawa. She pointed out that if you wear a waist trainer for an extended period of time, there's a huge possibility of developing medical problems, not only in weakening your core muscles but also how it can significantly affect your internal organs especially liver and kidneys. Excessive waist training will gradually cause muscle weakening, leading you to chronic back pain, bad posture and eventual loss of confidence. This also pushes your internal organs tightly, which will affect your lung capacity later on.
The combined efforts of dieting and exercising are still the best
In the views of medical experts, waist training is obviously not a fitting choice to help people maintain a healthy body. But for accustomed users, it definitely helps them to achieve that lasting hourglass shape the soonest possible time. Some waist trainers are built for fashion, and some are dedicated to weight loss aid. Here are some suggestions you may consider if having a slimmer waist is your foremost priority.
1. Steel-boned waist trainer
A steel-boned waist trainer is suitable for weight loss since it allows your body to bend comfortably in different directions. The wire material is intended for cinching your waist, unlike the flat-boned cincher which only allows back and forth movements. However, you need to choose the steel-boned waist trainer specifically for weight loss since many of them come out as a fashion apparel for special events.
2. Exercise waist trainer
This type of body shaper is normally made of latex material which helps your body sweat profusely while performing exercises. An exercise waist trainer doesn't absorb sweat too much, making you feel lighter. Closures are made of hook-type, laces or zipper.
3. Cotton-made waist trainer
If having a good posture is more important to you, this option can provide you with the needed boost. A cotton waist trainer is also perfect for yoga exercises because it provides a tolerable compression around your abdominal wall. Remember to choose the cotton waist trainer with a steel bone for better compression. However, this type may wear out fast because sweat absorption may weaken the material quickly.
4. Mesh-type waist trainer
Perfect for both over and under clothing, a mesh waist trainer provides support for a good posture. The material is more comfortable and more breathable than cotton or satin, giving your body enough room to breathe. Just like cotton-made waist trainers, this type falls under the "casual" category along with leather, satin, and brocade.
5. Hook-in closure waist trainer
This versatile body shaper allows better movement since you can adjust the closures based on your preferred fitting. It can be worn as casual or workout waist trainer, perfect for posture management.
How to improve health with waist training
Consistent diet and exercise are still better than wearing a waist trainer alone. But if you combine these three effective fitness strategies, you can achieve the ideal weight you've always wanted along with a stunning hourglass figure. Here's how you can complement your fitness goals with waist training:
- Refrain from performing exercises with a waist trainer after two hours. Excessive workout may lead to physical exhaustion due to muscle cramps, numbness, and fatigue. It’s recommended to wear a waist trainer when planning to do some cardio exercises.
- Consume the right kind and right amount of food. You can follow a healthy meal plan, loaded with protein sources, healthy fats and low-carb vegetables.
- Practice mindful eating by concentrating over the food you're eating. Otherwise, you can experience indigestion since your stomach is being compressed.
- Consume little food but often, for example, every two-three hours in between. Remember, heavy consumption will give you a difficult time digesting the food.
- Follow the six-eight glasses of water rule to stay hydrated, but drink water every 30 minutes.
- Loosen up a bit when you feel uncomfortable especially after drinking water.
- Perform muscle-toning exercises on a regular basis such as planks, abdominal crunches, push-ups and more.
- Avoid wearing the waist trainer during sleep time.
Waist training isn't dangerous to one's health if only applied with utmost precaution. What's more important is to practice prevention through proper exercise, healthy eating, and positive thinking