There are a lot of really wacky health tips for women out there, but more recently, there has been a lot of buzz in the media about the use of “waist training” as a quick and easy way to achieve an hourglass figure. While it may serve as useful beauty advice for some women, it’s important to get all the facts about how the practice of waist training can impact your health and wellness, as well as your body. Here’s what you need to know before trying this fad for yourself.
What Is Waist Training?
Waist training involves squeezing your midsection into a tight, restrictive garment that makes your waist look slimmer and your hips look curvier—the idea is that by restricting your core area with this corset-like tool, it will permanently reshape your waist over time.
Although the practice isn’t by any means new beauty advice (women used to wear corsets as far back as the 1500s), the resurfacing of this trend has shed new light on the implications that these garments can have on women’s health and wellness, especially as they get older.
The Risks of Waist Training on Health and Wellness
If you’re putting on a waist trainer or corset for a few hours to look good in a new dress, that’s one thing. But if you’re wearing it all day, every day, in hopes that it will make you thinner, that’s where you’ll run into problems. While it’s certainly true that waist training garments are safer now than they were centuries ago, they still carry risks that you need to know about, not just for overall health and wellness, but also for your body. The following are a few things to keep in mind before trying out this particular piece of beauty advice:
• Effectiveness: A lot of medical experts will agree that waist training only serves as temporary beauty advice but doesn’t actually work for achieving permanent results. While it may work to make your waist look smaller while you’re wearing it, your body will more than likely go back to normal after you take it off, because it doesn’t do anything to get rid of body fat.
• Breathing: Because waist training garments are so restrictive, they can put extra pressure on your diaphragm, which hinders your lungs’ ability to properly expand and contract. This can lead to other health and wellness issues, like dizziness, fainting, and physical instability.
• Core Strength: If not done properly, or worn for too long, some experts say waist training can weaken your core muscles. This is especially harmful for the health and wellness of older women, who need strength in their core to maintain balance and functional performance. As you already know, fitness is an important component of aging well, and waist training can interfere with that ability. It’s especially dangerous for health and wellness to wear a waist trainer while working out, because it inhibits your movements and, going back to the previous point, it doesn’t let you take deep breaths.
• Digestive Issues: Some medical experts believe waist training can impact digestive health, because of how they constrict the abdomen area, including the stomach and intestinal area. This can lead to constipation, acid reflux, and heartburn.
Beauty Advice That’s Better for Your Health and Wellness
It’s OK to use waist training once in a while and only in moderation, but don’t expect permanent results. Not only is it a temporary solution, but it poses serious risks to your overall health and wellness, especially if it’s worn too small or too tight.
That being said, the only permanent solution for achieving a smaller midsection is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and stay active. These are the only two ways to truly burn body fat and build muscle, which means they’re the only ways to really get the slim, hourglass figure that waist training claims to accomplish.
There will always be new and outrageous bits of beauty advice that come and go, but when it comes to your health and wellness, it’s always smart to do your research. In the pursuit of aging well and feeling good, is the illusion of a dramatically small and almost artificial-looking waist really worth the potential risks that can come with it?
Crain, E., “The Dangers of ‘Waist Training,’” Women’s Health web site, August 26, 2014; http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/waist-training.
Hawk, N., “The Kardashians are hooked on this very damaging weight loss trend,” The Glow web site, March 19, 2015; http://www.theglow.com.au/lifestyle/waist-training-does-it-work/.
MacMillan, A., “What You Should Know About Waist Training,” Health web site, March 10, 2015; http://news.health.com/2015/03/10/what-is-waist-training/.
“The Dangers of Waist Training,” The Doctors web site, November 26, 2014; http://www.thedoctorstv.com/articles/2834-the-dangers-of-waist-training.
“Waist Training,” Gin n Toxic web site, December 26, 2012; http://www.ginntoxic.com/waist-training/.