Spot reducing plans to shrink the waistline nearly always begins with a regimen of sit-ups or crunches. For people who are young enough to be able to get up from the floor without groaning or who have no back injuries, these traditional core exercises are fine, even if they are boring. However, many women who are over the age of thirty have had back strains and sprains from pregnancy or overextending themselves while working or working out. For anyone who has experienced lower back or neck pain, performing sit-ups and crunches is not just agonizing, it can be dangerous. Are there safe and effective ways to exercise the core without floor workouts?
Yes, there are, and anyone of any age can do them. One of the easiest ways to tone flabby abs is to stay conscious of posture when sitting or standing, and to repeatedly tighten the abdominal muscles. Incorporating this habit into the daily routine begins to exercise muscles that may be out of shape. It also creates a habit of sitting or standing erectly and reminds a person to maintain good posture. Repeatedly pulling in the abdomen and holding it tight for a few minutes gently firms the muscles. It also aligns the spine, which takes strain off back and hip muscles.
Second, a simple walking routine that involves kicks and knee lifts as well as forward motion puts abdominal muscles into play. When a person stands upright and kicks, they engage the lower abdominal muscles and the thigh muscles to lift the leg. Those muscles have to work against gravity. Adding a “pushing” motion with both arms while lifting one leg and pulling the belly back toward the spine engages the entire midsection. The body moves in a manner that is similar to doing a crunch, without the threat of neck or lower back strain.
Standing knee lifts whittle the waistline and create an hourglass figure. Knee lifts are especially effective when a person also moves the opposite hand toward the knee that has been lifted. The slight twisting motion engages the oblique muscles that run along the sides from the fifth to the twelfth rib.
Finally, adding resistance bands to a cardio or strength workout makes demands on the core muscles that other strength training methods do not. The bands force core muscles to stabilize and balance the body during the workout. This effort results in firming and toning of these muscles along with strengthening arm, leg and back muscles. Resistance bands are inexpensive and the tension can be modified to accommodate any fitness level.
A strong core isn’t just sexy – it’s healthy. Firm ab muscles help a person avoid back injuries, and abdominal muscles that are worked regularly won’t accumulate the fat deposits that are so dangerous to heart health. Kick flabby abs to the curb with these simple additions to the daily routine and never face another sit-up.