Flat Tummy For Summer
This month we are focusing on toning up your stomach area. Here are three great moves that, combined with a healthy, low fat diet and plenty of regular, aerobic exercise will do just that and all you need to do is three sets of each exercise every other day ( 1 set is 20 repetitions).
Do each of the exercises every day for the next 4 weeks.
Measure your waist at the start of the month and re-measure it again at the end. You'll be amazed how much firmer and more toned your abdominals will become. Try to increase the number of repetitions that you do by 10% each week to make sure that you continue to really challenge your abdominal muscles right throughout the programme.
The crunch is a great exercise for working the Rectus abdominis. This is the muscle that runs vertically from your breast bone and ribs to your pubic bone and enables you to flex your spine.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands by your ears and keep your elbows right out to the sides. Slowly raise your shoulders off the floor, keeping your chin raised off your chest. Breathe out as you lift up, hold for a count of two then slowly lower back down breathing in as you go.
Repetitions: 3 x 30
Variation: To make this exercise easier try placing your arms across your chest. To make it more difficult extend your arms in a straight line above your head making sure they stay in line with your ears throughout the move.
This exercise works the muscles that wrap diagonally around your waist. Long hours spent sitting at a desk, in the car or watching TV means they are not used as often as they should be so this is a really effective way of putting them through their paces and really targeting that waistline.
Begin the exercises as you would for the abdominal curl. As you lift your shoulders off the floor
Repetitions: 3 x 25 each side
All you need to do to get a flat stomach is to pull it in. When you do this you are contracting your transversus abdominis (the muscle that runs vertically through your torso from your belly button to your spine). The only problem is that for most of us, when we stop pulling in the transversus abdominis lengthens again resulting in that all too familiar pot belly. This exercise is designed to permanently strengthen and shorten this muscle so that your tummy remains flat even when you're not thinking about it!
Repetitions: 3 x 1 minute
Remember, the key to any good abdominal programme is to combine toning exercises such as those shown above with plenty of fat burning, aerobic work too. Swimming, running, walking, skating and cycling are all excellent fat burners.
Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate to hard aerobic exercise five times a week. Here are just a few more ways you can work that waistline on a daily basis ......
Buy some red sticky dots and place them on your computer, car steering wheel, fridge, cooker and anything else you use regularly. Every time you see these dots remind yourself to sit or stand tall and pull your stomach in, holding the contraction for a count of 5 and slowly releasing. Repeat this 5 times as often as possible throughout the day.
Buy a Stability Ball
Sit on a stability ball instead of your office chair or sofa. Stability balls are round and pressurised therefore, unlike a normal chair, they move very easily when you sit on them. This forces your abdominal muscles to respond by working hard to keep you in place which then develops a strong 'corset' around the whole of the mid-section. This will not only help to create a flatter stomach but it will also protect and support the spine therefore resulting in far fewer back problems.
Did you know ...?
It's long been known that a hostile temperament can be rough on the heart, but research suggests exercise may help even the angriest personalities avoid heart disease.
In a study of 103 healthy, middle-aged women, investigators found that those prone to angry outbursts had less-healthy cholesterol levels than their calmer peers. However, women who were angry but physically fit showed no such ill effects on their cholesterol so don't get mad - get exercising!
Note - if you are unused to exercise, it is best to check with your GP before you begin if you feel unwell, unfit or have any medical conditions.
For more exercise tips, click here