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What Are the Health Risks Associated With Waist Training?

The latest “Fitness” craze everyone is talking about is all focused on an unique garment called a Waist Training Corset. It all started when we saw Kim Kardashian wearing a corset and showing off her tiny little waist on Instagram, but there are certain things you should know before you latch onto the corset bandwagon.

This isn’t a new thing. In fact tight-lacing, commonly known as corset training, was a common practice in the late Victorian era of the 1800s to early 20th Century, but its roots can also be traced back to 16th century.

zyana-waistMost recently, corsets grabbed the attention of women everywhere when they saw celebrity Kim K wearing a modern-day latex version of the corset, which she used to perfect her post-baby waist. Other celebrities afterwards, like sisters Kourtney and Kim, Jersey Shore’s J-Woww and Snooki, Luisa Zissman and Danielle Lloyd, were seen on Instagram posting pics of their tight-cinched waists to kickstart this crazy movement of body-shaping.

But, what are the health risks associated with waist training and how doesit really work? Here’s what you need to know.

1. You look slim around the waist – obviously!

Waist trainers have an instant effect and your waist actually looks smaller, taut and tiny. Put a corset around your waist and you’ll feel the difference right away. But there is also a psychological effect that comes along with waist cinching that cannot be denied.

According to Dr. Galyna Selezneva, an aesthetic medical doctor at Dr. Rita Rakus, a cosmetic clinic in London, “waist training can serve as a constant reminder of your present shape, aiding a sense of restriction which can motivate individuals to diet.”

Waist trainers are non-invasive and people wear them at intervals throughout the day.

2. Temporary weight loss might be a result

During waist training workouts, people find that their body temperature increases resulting in more sweat, ultimately leading to weight loss. But you should also be aware of the fact that this is just a temporary solution. Waist training works effectively when worn with a supporting lifestyle to aid you in achieving the figure of your dreams. In other words, wearing a waist trainer alone isn’t going to magically erase your waistline. For real, long-term results, you need to eat right and exercise consistently.

3. You should wear it often for the best effects.

Peter Lemon, an expert personal trainer and founder of The Academy of Fitness Professionals addresses the core issue associated with waist training. His take on the situation is, “The problem is that waist training only makes you look slimmer while you are wearing the corset, once you take it off, your body will soon revert back to its normal shape.”

You need to wear the corset all the time in order to achieve the right results from waist training as the amount of fat in your body won’t lessen once you stop wearing it. You need to sweat, sweat, and sweat really hard to shed those pounds.

4. You need to wear it properly and choose the right size

You also need to be sure your waist trainer fits properly and does not cause discomfort. If it does cause pain, you have probably chosen the wrong size and may run into health issues. Dr. Galyna is of the opinion that the upper organs of our body move more upwards and lower more downwards putting an extra ordinary pressure on the abdomen causing constipation. Your tolerance level to certain foods will be minimized that includes gas-producing and fatty foods, and some individuals might also find that normal portion sizes are way too much. So in that sense, wearing a waist training corset can help you control your portion sizes. There is also a potential threat of Acid Reflux, as your stomach shifts up beyond your diaphragm increasing chances of heartburn.

5. You need to stay hydrated

Remember: workout waist trainers cause you to sweat more. That’s a key benefit. But that means you should be drinking plenty of water while ‘waist training’ during exercise to limit the risk of dehydration.

6. Your back muscles take a toll

Excessive waist training causes the abdominal muscles to become rather inactive even if you follow a regular exercise regime. The back and the abdominal muscles get weakened with the passage of time since they aren’t used as effectively for posture as they were without these corsets resulting in prolonged stiffness. Now, it’s the corset that’s providing you with all the support instead of your back muscles and their lack of usage would eventually cause them to atrophy.

7. Impact on breathing

It is believed that the excessive use of improperly sized waist trainers can cause cramps, discomfort and pinching due to its tightness. That is why it’s critical to choose the correct size. Moreover, the worst case scenario is the fact that it can affect the quality and depth of your breathing particularly when worn during an exercise. When selecting a waist trainer, be sure to carefully follow the manufacturer’s or retailer’s sizing guidelines, and always remove a waist trainer if it is causing pain or affecting your breathing – that’s not how they’re designed to work.

8. Adults only

Since the practice of corseting is endorsed by celebrities, young girls are overtly influenced by this trend. But young teens and pre-teens are not advised to wear waist trainers, because the garments can interfere with their growing bodies. The muscles and the overall body posture are not fully developed at this age, thus corsets and waist training should wait until adulthood.

9. Compressions cause deteriorating body

Due to compression the body faces some serious health risks such as pulmonary problems, renal infections, skin infections and lung issues. These issues are very critical and extremely painful. The manufacturers of these products also advice users to wear them for short intervals because of the risks involved.

10. What do the experts say?

The medical community is split on the benefits of waist training. Some believe there are too many health risks to make it worthwhile to wear corsets constantly. Others say the practice can indeed supplement a healthy lifestyle and even provide a psychological benefit (i.e. a boost in confidence, motivation to lose weight, etc.), as long as the garments are worn properly. If you’re going to try waist training make sure you’re aware of all the health risks and that you’re wearing the right size – without pain, discomfort or shortness of breath.

11. Don’t make it an addiction

Everybody loves to have a tiny waist and an hourglass figure and that desire can easily turn into an addiction, specifically for those having an obsessive personality. There is anecdotal evidence that some people can get addicted to it once they see their hourglass figure.

When wearing a corset, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t use it as a substitute to healthy eating and exercise.
  • Never over tighten yourself in it.
  • Avoid its use if you’re young and your body is still developing.
  • Always remove a waist training garment if it is affecting your breathing.
  • Keep yourself properly hydrated if you’re doing any kind of physical activity that causes you to sweat.

Zyana Morris is a passionate blogger who loves to write on trending health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a featured author at HealthableUplifting FamiliesInscriber MagHello Mamas and few others. Her favorite quote “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop”. You can follow her through Facebook and Twitter.

MFN Contributing Author