Someone called me a muffin top the other day. I guess that's a fair assessment of my body type, but unfortunately it brought to focus the spillage around the waist from my jeans. As I stood in front of the mirror, I'd never looked quite as hard at this problem area which seemed to be narrating tales of my trysts with burgers and fries. Don't get me wrong, I don't intend to abandon my favorite foods, but given that I was considering cutting back on them, I decided to look up some targeted exercises for my mid-section. Here are some interesting facts that I came across:
- Everyone has a six-pack.. wait, what? Then where's my beach body? Apparently, the abs are a group of six muscles (or six-pack) which remain concealed under the skin, and the more layers of fat you have, the harder they are to find. I have a six-pack... I just can't see it, and probably won't for another 20lb.
- Core workouts are soon replacing ab workouts to encompass the powerhouse area of your body, which includes your back, spine and abs. Why? Well, the core connects the lower to the upper body, which means all these muscles are extremly vital. They must be engaged, strengthened, and activated on a regular basis to prevent spine issues, reduce risk of injury, back problems, and, of course, target tummy flab which signals serious health problems.
- You can tell you have a weak core if you have recurring back pains, because the disks begin to compress in the spine. Poor posture and the need for support to sit or stand straight for a long period is also a tell-tale sign. Keep an eye out for digestion issues (mainly constipation and bloating) which get stirred up because a weak core does not allow the internal organs (including the intestines) to expand and rest easy.
- Also, core exercises help you age better because they work as functional workouts that engage your stabilizer muscles, and improve your sense of balance and coordination. They are a great way to keep your spine flexible, so one must make sure to engage in exercises like backbends and spine twists, just as much as ab workouts.
- Increasingly, most practices have been shifting their focus to the core, which has been recognized as the fountain of youth for one's body. Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, TRX training, and many more will have you focusing on the mid-section of your body, and this doesn't just include your abs.
Packed with all this information and a zeal to minimize my fatty problem area, I found a really helpful episode of Health Soup
, where the host Lucy Segal demonstrated basic moves to engage the glutes (butt), obliques (love handles
), abs, lumbar, and back muscles. Under the watchul eye of personal trainer Jodi Strumeier from Shido, New Jersey, below is a little clip from the show, the full version of which can be viewed here