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Guard Your Health is a resource for Army National Guard Soldiers and family members. Find health-related tools and information. Hear from fellow Soldiers and Families. Make medical readiness part of your personal mission.

For a long time I have had a kind of large stomach tried everything to get rid of it but nothing seems to work. I have played many sports and go to the gym literally every day. To get over this I tend to suck in my gut all day, and have gotten very used to this. My question is do you think something may be wrong with me internally? Is there anything else I can try doing? And is it bad for my body to be constantly sucking in my gut 24/7?

Holding in your stomach can be a natural reaction when you are trying to look more fit and trim. While it may seem like a good way to look thinner and strengthen those core muscles, sucking in your stomach can lead to future health problems, such as a slow metabolism and poor posture. Learn how constantly sucking in can be harmful and recommended safe options to slim down your stomach:

Sucking In Means Your Body Gets Less Oxygen

There is a good chance that holding in your stomach will affect your breathing. When you take a breath, your diaphragm, the main muscle that that helps you breathe, drops to allow air to enter your lungs. Breathing in causes your stomach and lower back to expand to accommodate your diaphragm. If you are holding your stomach in, your diaphragm has nowhere to go and, as a result, your breathing will become shallow. Holding your stomach in can result in your body getting 33 percent less oxygen than normal, which can make you feel tired and can even slow down your metabolism.

Your Stomach Muscles Can Weaken

Many people think that holding in their stomach and keeping those muscles tight will strengthen their abs. In reality, if you hold any muscle in the same position for too long, it actually weakens. Muscles need to contract and move in order to grow stronger. Strengthen your core with these exercises.

Your Posture May Suffer

Posture is directly related to correct breathing. By sucking your stomach in and breathing incorrectly, your posture can suffer. Bad posture can lead to multiple issues including sore muscles, injuries, and bad balance. Keep good posture by balancing your weight on both feet, keeping your shoulders and back relaxed with your hands hanging naturally at your sides, and standing with your feet hip distance apart.

Instead of sucking in your stomach to look thinner try these tips to lose that belly fat once and for all. Find out how you can really blast fat by debunking these five common myths about your belly.

If you ever have a question about your health and are concerned you might have a health problem, reach to a medical professional to determine the best plan of action.