Consuming foods high in carbs, fats, and sugars, while living a sedentary lifestyle is bound to take a toll on your body. Your core happens to be the part of your body which loses and gains fat the easiest. It is also the part of your body that connects the spine and the pelvis. Without a strong core, you won’t be able to stand up straight.
Unfortunately, the majority of us still don’t lead healthy lifestyles. We spend way too much time hunched over at our desks, eating all the wrong foods and not getting enough exercise. It’s no surprise that we end up suffering from bad posture and a belly that hangs over our jeans.
If you DO have a bit of a belly, there are ways to make it disappear! There are no two ways about it, you are definitely going to have to watch your diet and do some intense exercises that target your core muscles.
People who aren’t fitness enthusiasts and don’t have the willpower to begin with intense training – don’t fret! Prepare your core for more rigorous exercises by starting with these more gentle exercises that target your muscles and aren’t too exhausting.
The following are Pilates based exercises that will provide you with a good foundation to work on. Do 15 reps of each of these exercises at least 5 days a week.
To make your exercises more effective, use a waist trainer to keep your core tight and your back straight throughout the regimen. The thermal activity from the waist trainer will also aid in melting off some of the fat.
To do a pelvic bowl, lie down on your back with your knees bent in front of you and your arms on your sides. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and slowly raise your right hip bone into the air, reaching as high as you can. Hold your hip bone in the air for 15-20 seconds and then shift to your left hip bone. Slowly switch between your right and left hip bones, almost like if you were balancing a soup bowl on your belly and trying not spill it. Raising both hip bones counts as 1 rep; do this 15 times.
Lie down with your back flat against the ground with your knees bent in front of you again and planting your feet on the floor. Slowly proceed to raise your hips into the air to create a bridge-like shape. To ensure you’re doing the exercises correctly, place your thumbs on to your rib-cage and you're middle-finger on your hipbones. Keep your core tight. As you lift your hips you should feel the burn in your lower belly and the distance between your thumb and finger should lessen. Try and hold the pose for 15-20 seconds before bringing your hips down again. Repeat this 15 times.
Spinal impressions are a slightly easier version of crunches. Sit upright, with your arms out in front of your shoulders with your elbows slightly bent. Slowly round your back and lay down on the ground; imprinting your lower back first, followed by your middle and then your upper back. Rest your head and neck on the ground before rolling back up (grab onto your hamstrings if you need some help getting up again). Perform this 15times.
Lie down on the floor, keeping your arms on either side. Bend your knees to a 90⁰ angle so your shin and heels are hovering parallel to the ground. Your knees should be aligned with your hips. Using the strength in your abs, lift your head, shoulders, and neck off the ground and towards your core. Keeping your arms completely straight, lift them a few inches off the ground and stretch them out as far as you can. Pulse your arms up and down – 5 pulses when breathing in and 5 pulses when breathing out. Do this for 3 breath cycles.
To perform a cat/cow, you have to begin on all fours, keeping your knees hip-width apart and your hands on the ground, aligned with your shoulders. As you exhale, round your back upwards like a scared cat, dropping your head down. Suck your belly in towards your spine. Hold the pose for 15-20 seconds. As you breathe in, drop your belly towards the ground (like the loose belly of a cow) and lift your head up. Let your rib cage expand and feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for a few moments before repeating it. Repeat this 15 times.
Note that these exercises will be of no use if you aren’t controlling your intake of carbs and fats.