Ways to lose belly fat
Your core is made up of long muscles in the front called rectus abdominis, obliques on your sides, and the transversus abdominis across your front. Equally important to your core are your back muscles called erector spinae and your gluteal muscles. Learn how to strengthen these muscles and get rid of flab.
It’s common to gain weight around your abdomen. Before you can show off defined ab muscles, you have to burn fat. Weight loss is a great first step to get rid of abdominal fat. The fat around your midsection is particularly difficult to burn because it is visceral. This means it goes deep into your abdomen between your organs.
Eat healthy foods
In order to lose weight and get rid of belly flab, you have to eat better. Cut out unhealthy foods that are processed, fried, and full of sugar. These foods add to belly flab. Instead, choose healthy foods like leafy greens, brightly colored fruits, lean meat, and whole grains. Eat foods that are less healthy in moderation and monitor your portions. Nutritious food helps fuel your body to burn fat and build lean muscle when you exercise.
Exercises to help you go from flab to abs
When you think of abdominal exercises, crunches and sit-ups probably come to mind. These exercises aren’t as effective at building a strong core. In fact, they can be dangerous for some people because of the motions concentrated in your neck and hips. Instead, use weights to do other abdominal exercises and turn your flab into abs.
Lay flat on your back with your arms by your sides, knees bent, and your feet planted flat on the floor. Brace your core and lift your hips into the air. Slowly lower your back to the floor again in a controlled motion and repeat.
Depending on your overall strength, there are plank variations. In a traditional plank, you balance on your hands and toes with your body parallel to the floor. You can make the position easier by starting out on your knees instead of your toes or your elbows instead of your hands. Hold the position as long as you can, keeping your core muscles tight. Build up over time to holding the position for longer at a time.
Leg and arm raises
Start out on your hands and knees. Raise your left arm in front of you and your right leg behind you at the same time. Hold your core muscles tight while completing the motion. Lower back down to the starting position, and then extend your right arm and left leg.
The core workout presented here provides a progressively challenging experience by using only flexion/extension or rotation on the first three exercises, and then combining flexion/extension with rotation on the next three exercises. The exercises provide a balanced approach by focusing on both stability and mobility challenges.
Instead of using your effort to lift your body off the ground in a crunch position, do the opposite. Start in a position sitting up, and slowly lower your body to the ground. This alleviates pressure on your hips and neck while offering the same benefits.
Lie on your back and lift your arms above your head, but slightly back. Lift your legs off the ground together and slowly bring your arms and legs up to meet in the middle. Lower your arms and legs back down, not quite reaching the floor before you bend them up again. You can extend as far out as your body allows.
Use a stability ball
Lie flat on your back with your arms and legs extended. Alternate passing a stability ball back and forth between your hands and feet. Use a controlled motion to hold the ball in your hands and reach it back above your head before passing it to your feet. Lower your feet to the ground while holding the ball and then return it to your hands.
Using the stability ball again, balance with your hands flat on the ground and your feet on top of the ball. Your body should be parallel to the floor. Slowly rotate your legs to one side, so your body twists to face one direction. If you can balance, lift one arm up in the air to balance on your side before returning to the starting position. Alternate sides.
Thread the needle
Turn to your side and balance on one forearm and the side of one foot with the other stacked on top. Lift your hips off the ground so your body forms a straight line. Take your top arm and reach around the front of your body and through the gap formed between your body and the floor toward your back. Repeat this motion for a number of reps on one side before repeating on your other side.
For each exercise, choose a number of repetitions that is challenging for you. Repeat the motions until you can’t any more. While the exercises should be challenging for your muscles, you shouldn’t be in pain. Stop right away if you feel unusual pain or discomfort.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Ace Fitness: "6 Core Exercises to Get and Keep Strong Abs."
Harvard Medical School: "The best core exercises for older adults."
John Hopkins Medicine: "8 Ways to Lose Belly Fat and Live a Healthier Life."
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