The promise of sweating away belly inches lures people to buy neoprene belts. Due to crackdowns by the FTC, weight-loss product marketers take more care with their claims. Most purveyors of solar belts refer to losing "water weight," not fat. A solar belt consists of a strip of neoprene that wraps around the waist and fastens with hook and loop strips. Wearing a solar belt when you exercise reduces the workload on your core muscles.
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There's a long history of people using sweat-inducing suits, wraps, belts -- even plastic wrap -- on the body in hopes of losing weight. A common myth is that raising internal temperatures melts body fat. There's no truth in these claims. Lost inches result from water loss and generally returns as soon as you take in more fluids. Attempting to lose weight through dehydration and raising the body's core temperature is dangerous.
Neoprene, an insulating material, increases sweating. A solar belt may increase water weight loss around the waist because it prevents heat loss by insulating the area. As anyone who has attempted to lose weight with saunas or wraps can tell you, sweating doesn't cause lasting weight loss. Because of compression by neoprene and fluid loss, a solar belt can give the brief appearance of weight loss.
Terms for this product include waist trimmer, waist reduction belt and thermal belt. Electronic abdominal belts are a separate product, and there's no truth to weight loss claims for ab belts.
Exercising without a belt, unless your doctor or physical therapist advises wearing a weight belt, causes your body to engage more muscle. Wearing a solar belt can actually limit your exercise effectiveness. Increasing your temperature during exercise stresses your body and may reduce your energy and exercise intensity. Exercising in a solar belt without replacing fluids lost by the increased sweating can be harmful.
Working your core muscles improves your posture. Good posture and a firm core help you look trimmer as you lose weight. Strong core muscles -- back, upper and lower abdominals and obliques along your sides -- give you a natural girdle. A conditioned core increases your strength and power for sports and daily activities and reduces your risk of injury. Aerobic exercise and weight training coupled with cutting calories and limiting alcohol consumption will reduce belly fat.