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Beach Bodies, Better Health & Belly Fat

canstockphotocouple on beach2So you are probably aware that it is summer again. (If not, just walk outside and feel the 95 degree weather and the blazing sun on your skin. Yep, it’s definitely summer.) And, like many other people about this time, you may be realizing that you are not in quite the shape that you want to be. So today I want to give you a few quick and easy-to-do exercises to help tone and tighten the belly that can be done throughout the day whenever it crosses your mind.

But before that, though, do keep a few things in mind. First, summer  only accounts for one quarter of the year. Though looking good at the beach is definitely a confidence booster and benefit, the goal should be year-round health. Summer will eventually end, and those of you who really want change will have to keep pushing through fall, winter, and spring too.

Second, even though these exercises target the belly, that is not the only place that attention should be focused. True health comes from a well-rounded exericise/activity schedule. In addition to this, a generally healthy diet is a key ingredient to losing, not just belly fat (though that will certainly be one result), but also other areas of excessive fat that are being stored throughout your body.

All that to say, don’t just focus on these few exercises for a few weeks and think you have done all that must be done. This is a great place to start, but the truly healthy you that you are looking for will come through a year-round attention to diet and exercise.

But to help get you going, as promised, here are a few exercises to help target belly fat:

  • The Plank: The classic Plank is as good a move as any to tone and tighten your belly. Begin on all fours as though you were going to do a push-up, but lower your upper body down to rest on your elbows (keep your elbows below your shoulders) with your forearms and hands resting flat on the ground. Rise up on your toes and the balls of your feet, keeping your hips and butt level, and hold for 20 seconds. Eventually try to work up to three sets of 60 seconds each.
  • Criss-cross: Begin this move laying on your back as though you were going to do sit-ups or crunches (two other good exercises for the mid-section). Put your hands behind your head, then bring your left knee up and over your body toward your right shoulder, while at the same time using your abs to bring your right shoulder to meet you knee. Then return and repeat with the right knee and left shoulder. This is one rep. Work up to three sets of 16 reps each.
  • Toe Dips: Again, begin laying on your back as though you were going to do a sit-up. This time lay your arms down on the floor at your side. Lift both legs up off the ground to form a 90 degree angle (your shin should be parallel to the ground). Now point your tows and lower your right foot down to the ground, maintaining the right angle in your leg, until just before you toe touches the ground. Then return. Do the same thing with your left leg. That is one rep. Work up to three sets of 12 reps each. (For an easier version of this, leave one foot on the ground while you do the move with the other. For a more difficult version, do both legs at the same time.)
  • Standing Crunches: This one is great because you can do it anywhere, whether in the bathroom, or on the elevator (of course, as long as no one else is around–unless you don’t mind looking goofy). Begin standing. Bring your left foot up as both elbows move down to meet it. Return, and repeat with the right foot. That is one rep. Work up to three sets of 15 reps at a time. And remember to flex those abs as you do it!

These are just a few simple exercises that you can do without any heavy or expensive equip. You may know of others. The important thing is to get active. You will be amazed at how good you will feel as you become more and more active. If you don’t have time for a formal workout, stop and do one of these simple workouts, or any other that you may think of, throughout the day whenever it crosses your mind.