Juliette Kando is a dancer, choreologist, author on fitness and health, and Fellow of the Benesh Institute at the Royal Academy of Dance.
We All Have a Wasp Waist
At the skeletal level we all have a tiny waist, like the very narrow part of a wasp, no wider than one vertebra. Long ago, the skeletal narrowness in the waist area was exploited by freak fashions that squeezed women's waists into tight corsets to have an hour glass shape. Today, many cannot even find their waistline. Waists have grown in the opposite direction to the point of increased risks of obesity, diabetes and heart problems. Keeping a slim waist is not just a question of good looks but much more importantly a matter of health. We shall examine why this is so, and what can be done about it with no less than 8 simple to follow short waist slimming exercise videos.
Weak Muscles Are Beds for Fat
When muscles in the waistline are weak and unable to hold you up properly the body allows fat to grow there instead to keep your upper body in balance, to prop you up. This is not only unsightly and prevents you from moving freely (fat cannot move) but as recently proven by science, a fat waistline is also a great danger to your health.
The waistline is the critical part of the skeleton that relies mostly on muscle strength to help the lumbar spine (the bit below the waist) balance the entire weight of the upper body, including the rest of the spine, ribcage, the weight of your arms, shoulders, upper back, neck and head. This vital connection is illustrated when you tip upside down on a gravity inversion table as seen in the next video.
Watch the Body's Center of Gravity at Work
Gravity Inversion Proves the Point
In fact, as shown in the above video on Gravity Inversion, if your body was a pencil balancing horizontally on your finger, its pivot point would be in the pelvis. The pelvis is the center of gravity in the body. So everything above the pelvis makes up half of your total body weight. Just goes to show how much work the waist muscles have to do to keep your upper body in balance. Now if those waist muscles are weak, your body grows fat instead to help you stay upright.
A beer gut or apple shape were traditionally assumed to develop on men, whereas women were considered to be more pear shaped, carrying excess weight on the thighs. But this is no longer the case. Women are catching up fast with men on the spare-tyres front. Scientists told the National Obesity Forum conference that both men and women are at risk of ill health through weight gain around the waistline.
Waistline and Health Risks
According to Professor Anthony Barnett at the University of Birmingham, waist measurement is more important than overall weight. Carrying fat around the stomach can quadruple the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Women with waists over 30 inches/90cm and men with waists over 35inches/100cm are classed as high risk.
Prof Barnett and his colleagues have been at the forefront of research into fat cells around the waistline. Their research indicates that these fat cells are not passive lumps of lard but are highly active, pumping out proteins and hormones. While in small doses these substances are necessary, in excess they can cause damage to insulin use, raise blood pressure and increase cholesterol in the bloodstream.
The number of people with Type 2 diabetes has increased considerably in recent years and now tops 3 million in the UK alone. It is caused by insulin resistance, which can be triggered by excess weight around the waistline. Insulin produced in the pancreas stops working properly in overweight and obese people and the fatter someone becomes, the more resistant to insulin they are.
National Obesity Forum
Dr Ian Campbell, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, told the BBC that the evidence is "overwhelming." People with large waistlines are just as much at risk as those who are clinically obese. And he said while doctors are "getting to grips" with the fact that abdominal weight is the key factor in diabetes and heart disease, people should keep an eye on their own waistlines.
Men Versus Women
Men with waists of more than 40 inches/100cm and women with waists of more than 35 inches/90cm are at a high risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Thicker waistlines may double and quadruple these risks, compared to those with slimmer waistlines. Even a lower waist measurement of 35 inches / 90cm in men and 30 inches / 80cm in women may significantly raise the risk of either of these diseases, if not both.
Diabetes UK warns that weight around the waist is a contributing factor in Type 2 diabetes. A spokeswoman said: "Abdominal weight is a problem but the public are still not aware enough about the risks." Prof Barnett said: "Waist measurements can predict the risks of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease more accurately than weight."
In 2016,75% of all Americans are overweight and 41% obese. Let us debunk those horrible statistics and start reversing the trend now by firstly looking at what is inside the body.
Inside the Trunk
How the Trunk Is Put Together
The trunk is divided into two parts: the thorax (rib-cage) and the pelvis. Imagine your trunk as a figure eight. The upper part is your thorax or rib-cage and the bottom part is your pelvis. Above the waist, the rib-cage safely houses you heart and lungs, stomach, liver and other vital organs like the spleen and the gallbladder. Your waistline is the only thing that keeps your skeleton together in that area, with the five lumbar vertebrae aided by muscle force from the external and internal obliques — the waist muscles (see second video below). These muscles must be very strong to hold your upper body mobile and balanced upright.
The Danger of Weak Waist Muscles
When those crucial waist muscles are weak or dormant (not used), the body has to resort to growing fat in that area to help support the thorax plus the weight of everything else above the waist — like the upper back, shoulders, arms, neck and head (yes, almost half your body weight!). It's as simple as that! Now you have even more reason to follow the videos in this article on a regular basis until the fat is replaced by strong muscle tissue to hold you up.
The sternum is a large bone that provides a wide area of protection of the heart. The sternum is held between the ribs by the costal cartilages.
At the top of the sternum are points of articulation with the clavicles (collar bones) which pass from the sternum to the shoulder blades (scapulae).
The Ribcage or Thorax
The rib cage is like a built-in shield for the important organs held within: the heart and lungs. The ribcage is made up of the central sternum, with ribs attached on either side via costal cartilages. The ribs go around the outside of the rib cage's contents, and meet the spinal column at the back. Gaps between the ribs ensure effective movement for breathing.
Below the waistline is the pelvis. The pelvic girdle is a basin-shaped ring of joined bones connecting the spine to the legs and contains part of your intestines and internal reproductive organs.
How to Shrink Your Waist
Losing fat around the waistline is only possible when the fatty cushions presently helping to support the body are replaced by strong muscle tissue. With muscles instead of fat around the waistline the body no longer needs cumbersome cushions of fat to support it.
Reducing the waistline can easily be achieved through targeted exercise. Fat cannot move and does not like to be moved. As soon as you start moving, the fat humbly retreats. As a rough rule, if you lose 1 cm off your waist, you lose about 1 kg in weight. Just move the fat away by following the videos below. You can find your own level by choosing a video in the “Beginners,” “Intermediate” or “Advanced" sections.
Beginners - Sitting Torso Twists
Back of the shoulder and torso twist by Barbara Simon, from Romancing your Soul. You can do these sitting torso twists right now, even sitting at your computer.
Note: Don’t lift your shoulders like Barbara does on your in-breath.
Side Bends – See the Oblique Muscles Working
You don’t have to use weights to do these side bends but if you do, I recommend using wrist weights first before progressing onto heavier dumbbells.
Standing Torso Twists by Kini Knox from Expert Village
Another Variation of the Standing Torso Twist
- Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the arms loosely by your sides.
- Involve the head. See how far you can look behind you on each twist. The eyes can lead the movement.
In this way, the whole spinal column gets a good twist, right up to the Atlas (the top vertebra that supports the head, situated somewhere between your ears).
CAUTION: Keep the crown vertically aligned above the tailbone. Go slowly at first.
With these core toners you can:
- Tighten the waist and butt
- Flatten the stomach
- Tone the upper arms and open shoulders
- Strengthen the core, pelvic floor, back and torso muscles
- Improve posture and reduce back pain
Side of Waist Workout
Waist Slimmers with Denise Austin
Six wonderful waistline slimmers anyone can do. Just follow the above video.
1. Side to side rotations
2. Leg and body lifts for obliques
3. Tummy tucks for core
4. Bicycle with twists
5. Elbow plank with twist
6. Lovehandle eliminators
Ultimate Waist Toner
Total Mastery of Core Muscles
I’m not suggesting any of you should attempt to move like Sadie in her virtuoso performance.
This video has been included as an inspiring example of the ultimate achievement in control and coordination in the core muscles and to prove that practice makes perfect.
Dancing Is Even Better Than Exercise
Having been inspired by the above video, you too can join a Belly Dancing or any other fun dancing class (men can do it too). When you dance you find your waistline the fun way. You lose weight while strength and grace are all thrown into the bargain. Enjoy your body and it will respond with great improvements.
Keeping the Waistline Trim
Some or all of the eight exercise videos in this article can help you reduce the size of your waistline. However, you will also want to change your diet from fatty junk food and sweet soda drinks to a predominantly vegetarian diet and pure water. Once you have found your waistline you’d sure be a fool to lose it again and expose yourself to a high risk of diabetes and heart disease. So why not bookmark this page so you can come back to it every day and progressively learn the moves in these carefully selected videos.
Good luck, enjoy your journey to slim your waist, and please feel free to share your views and ask questions in the discussion below.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia on January 13, 2020:
Nice to hear from you again. And good for you that you are actually doing the exercises.
To guide the sacrum back home, feel the sitting bones and not the tail baring the weight of your torso when sitting. Lift the ribcage when walking to straighten the pelvis
I hope this helps
Yerazed on January 13, 2020:
Wonderful article to help create body awareness! In my body the Bum-walk, torso twist and plow exercise seemed to feel the best. LOVe your videos!!! After watching some pilates positioning videos it seems my issue is my sacrum is not seated above my pelvis throughout the day which is wrecking havoc no matter how much I stretch.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia on April 26, 2012:
Yes Denise, get moving again. It's fun and keeps you going.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on April 25, 2012:
Had to check this one out-what a national (world wide?) problem this has become. I loved the belly dance video and cannot imagine that extent of muscle control! She was remarkable. I'm so glad you included it and thought she was from the Middle East, haha. What a delightful surprise.
This hub has inspired me to get moving! Thanks. Rated it up and across, except funny.
Barbara on November 06, 2011:
I never knew about the skeleton being so thin at the waist, but if you think about it, yes, it's true. So there might still be hope for me!
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia on November 28, 2010:
Great James, there are plenty of hubs here on how you may achieve this.
James on November 27, 2010:
Great hub Sue. I can now finally start working on reducing my stomach.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia on September 25, 2010:
Cheeky Girl, thanks for dropping by and glad you enjoyed it.
oktoral on September 25, 2010:
This is a good hub, many benefits for women who need tips and information on health and body care.
Cassandra Mantis from UK and Nerujenia on August 04, 2010:
This is a great hub on waistlines and exercise benefits, one of the best I have read here. Excellent tips and information! Rating you up! And yes, the dance video is fantastic, as the cheering crowd amply indicate in the background!
radha jackie on March 15, 2010:
Thanks for getting back to me Sue. This is a wonderful service you do! It's very helpful and supportive.
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia on March 14, 2010:
Don't be larmed Radha. As with all statistics the measurements given in the article are probably averages. You re quite tall and surely allowances for different heights must be taken into account. With your healthy diet and youthful appearance I wouldn't worry about a thing.
radha jackie on March 12, 2010:
sue your article freaks me out, I am 66 years old but I have always had a big waist from a much younger age and now it is 31-32" . A recent blood test showed normal glucose and cholesterol levels. Anyway seeing your videos makes me realize I have to do more repetitions of the twists and core body work etc I have been doing, though I don't hold out much hope of a smaller waist!
Juliette Kando FI Chor (author) from Andalusia on March 12, 2010:
I'm glad to be of some support in your struggle for finding your waistline Tom. Keep up the good work and you will soon see results.
tom kando on March 09, 2010:
This is an unbelievably erudite, sophisticated and helpful article. Like most aging men, my waistline has expanded over the years. I now do a daily exercise which strengthens my waistmuscles and my diaphragm. It's still not a pretty sight, but to give you an idea, the new levies I just bought are 34s, so that's not too bad. An added advantage to strengthening these muscles is that this helps reduce my back problems.
What else can I say? We - my immediate family, my friends - are all fighting the evil consequences of fat - from diabetes to high cholesterol to high blood pressure and heart disease. It's a constant struggle. But we are fighting. And we are inspired by your wise words.