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Do waist trainers work?



Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Continue reading

Contemporary cosplayers and curvy celebs love to attribute their physically antagonistic number 8 to the magic of waist training. And while the wise social media scroller inside you knows that the photos you see online aren’t always real life, you might be wondering if the waist trainer fad is true.

Regardless of what Kim K. might say (or post), wearing a hip belt isn’t really going to shrink your waistline. But it become make yourself uncomfortable and maybe prepare for some health problems. Here are some things to know before you step into a waist exerciser.

Waist exercisers are undergarments that claim to “train”

; your waist to narrow it and give you an hourglass shape. They’re usually made of thick cloth and may contain hard metal bones. You should wrap it around your middle – as tight as possible, please! – and close the whole thing with Velcro, hooks or laces.

If the design sounds kind of like a corset or a belt, it’s because it’s pretty much the same. All of these clothes are supposed to suck you in like crazy.

But waist trainers go a step further and claim that wearing a waist trainer frequently will actually reshape your abs to shrink your midsection for good.

Waist trainers claim to make your waistline smaller. And they can … temporarily. A waist trainer soaks everything in while you wear it, and things can stay that way for a short while after – until your muscles relax back to their normal shape.

OK but do they help you lose weight? Well, a super dense band that compresses your stomach makes eating quite uncomfortable. So if you’re trying to contain your portions, wearing a cincher can help you get fewer calories.

However, a 2010 study that looked into this found that most people who tried to lose weight while wearing a corset simply took off the corset because it was so uncomfortable.

There’s a potential plus: if you’re heavier, a waist trainer can temporarily give you the core support you may need to increase your mobility and flexibility.

However, since there are certain risks (more on that in a second), be sure to have your doctor or physical therapist carry out the idea before trying it out.

Wearing a waist trainer or corset for a couple of hours – like wearing a costume – is likely going to be uncomfortable, but it’s not really bad for you. But if you are thinking of making it a normal thing, there are many reasons that are probably not a good idea.

Waist trainers literally squeeze your insides

Making your center a few inches smaller will also make all of the material smooth on the inside (LIKE THIS!). Not only is this uncomfortable – it can potentially put a strain on your vital organs.

They make breathing difficult

Waist exercisers also squeeze your lungs, which can greatly reduce the amount of air you can take in. This may make you feel like you have difficulty breathing, feel tired, or even pass out.

You will make your workout less fun

Exercise in general isn’t great when you feel completely out of breath. But there’s more: the difficulty breathing actually causes lactic acid to build up in your muscles, making you feel like you’re burning and unable to push any further.

They could destroy your posture and hurt your back

Despite the short-term support of the core, a waist trainer can help some heavier weight people. Using one over the long term will actually weaken your core muscles as they won’t have to work as hard to support you. This can lead to sloppy posture and back pain.

They bring you heartburn

Squeezing again, people. All of that pressure can cause acids from your stomach to splash down your throat, especially if you’ve recently eaten.

They could lead to long-term reproductive problems

Some experts have theorized that wearing a corset or waist exerciser could in the long run increase the risk of miscarriage or other problems like uterine prolapse or decreased pelvic size.

There isn’t a lot of hard evidence to back this up, but it’s probably worth thinking about, isn’t it?

You probably know where we’re going with this, but it has to be said: the best way to shrink your waistline is with just basic diet and exercise.

As you eat fewer calories and burn more from exercise, you lose overall body fat – and that leads to the loss of inches around your waist. If you really want to make a bump, cut down on the refined sugars and try to take at least 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day.

As for things like crunches and other ab moves? It’s a good idea to include strength training exercises in your workout routine at least twice a week. But you’ll get more bang for your buck with bigger moves like squats, lunges, pushups, or shoulder presses as they hit more muscles (including your core) at the same time.

And be warned: spot exercises like crunches don’t really shrink your waistline, no matter how much you feel the burn.

Our waists have a lovely pre-set shape – and wearing a wrap or corset doesn’t change that without causing significant damage. Additionally, waist trainers don’t really work for weight loss or permanently changing your shape to give you more curves.

While it’s okay to wear a couple of hours as part of a costume, wearing one on the registry can be unsafe. We say embrace your waist and shape the way they are, and if you want to lose weight, stick to good old diet and exercise.


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