The REAL Secret To Getting A Flat Belly (Hint: It Isn't Sit-Ups)

Wouldn't it be nice if your belly always appeared the way it does when you look into the mirror and suck it in? Many of us think that obtaining this beautiful, flab-free, belly requires hundreds of sit-ups and crunches. The truth is, all of the "ab" exercises in the world can't magically remove your excess belly bulge. It is time to think differently about the way we work out. Even examining our posture can play a pivotal role in correcting the way our figure appears. Many people suffer from poor posture causing them to slump over. This slump makes the stomach protrude  farther than it should. "Correcting poor posture can make you look 5 pounds slimmer instantly." says Deborah L. Mullen, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in San Luis Obispo, CA. INPOST1 (5) Another great way to improve the appearance of your stomach is to add these exercises into your regular workout routine! Try to squeeze in these powerful exercises three times a week to see a noticeable difference.

Belly Blasting Stretches: 

Leg Lower and Lift  [caption id="attachment_125152" align="aligncenter" width="620"]pilates style exercises (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] To start, lie on your back with your hands behind your head and your legs extended and lifted over your hips. With toes pointed toward the ceiling, turn your feet out slightly, and lift your head, looking between your thighs. [caption id="attachment_125153" align="aligncenter" width="620"]lower leg lift (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] Breathe in deeply and lower your legs toward the floor about 6 inches. Avoid arching your back. Exhale while lifting them back up. Begin with 4 reps and try to work up to 8. Back Extension [caption id="attachment_125154" align="aligncenter" width="620"]back extensions (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] To start, lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides and palms up. Put your forehead to the floor and keep looking down as you contract your back muscles and lift your torso off the floor. Lengthen through the top of your head and reach through your hands back toward your feet. Pause, then lower. Complete 6 reps. [caption id="attachment_125155" align="aligncenter" width="620"]exercises to blast belly fat (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] Extend your arms overhead so your palms rest on the floor in front of you (think of Superman flying). Keep your upper body still and your legs apart while lengthening and lifting both legs as high as comfortably possible. Pause, then lower. Complete 6 reps.  

Post-Work Yoga Stretches: 

These moves will loosen up tight hip muscles and relieve tension from your body. They will alleviate the issue of overarching or slumping your back and prevent your stomach from protruding. Complete these moves once a day after long, motionless hours of sitting at the office or in front of the television. The Warrior  [caption id="attachment_125156" align="aligncenter" width="620"]the warrior yoga pose (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] Standing tall with feet hip-width apart, take a giant step forward with your left foot, bending that knee so your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Turn your right foot out  so the arch faces the heel of your left foot. Raising your arms over your head, keep palms facing each other. Keep hips and shoulders forward. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Sit Pretty Sitting at a desk for long hours or even driving through time-consuming commutes can throw off your posture without you even realizing it. To prevent your shoulders from rounding and your lower back from giving way, learn how to sit properly. Soon you will naturally break the habit of slumping and gravitate towards a healthier posture. Simply sit up taller and engage your core. It is also important to stretch periodically whether you're at the office, on a road trip or sitting in front of the TV. [bctt tweet="The REAL Secret To Getting A Flat Belly (Hint: It Isn't Sit-Ups)"]

Sit Tall Exercises:

The following exercises help to elongate your spine when it starts to feel the pinch of bad posture. Desk Stretch  [caption id="attachment_125157" align="aligncenter" width="620"]desk stretch office life (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] Sit on the front edge of a chair with feet flat and body weight evenly distributed on top of your  pelvic sit bones. Keep your shoulders down and clasp your hands with fingers interlocked and raise your arms overhead. Lift your stomach muscles to lengthen your lower back and stretch your spine up. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then relax your arms down by your sides, keeping the spine lengthened. Exhale completely, inhale slowly, and then exhale again as you relax your upper body. Relax Your Tummy Away:  While being strong and flexible helps to alleviate belly bulge problems, stress is the number one cause of extra fat around your midsection. This means that managing stress and tension is key to shedding those undesired pounds. "The stress of daily life puts us in constant 'fight or flight' mode." explains bodywork therapist, Hope Gillerman. "That causes our neck muscles to contract and shoulders to hunch, pulling our head toward our spine. We're constantly tensed up as if we were walking on ice." Relaxation can come in the form of exercise, so Hope recommends this effective move: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Place an object such as a telephone book under your head. Breathe deeply with your hands on your ribs. Visualize your neck falling toward the floor and the top of your head floating. Allow gravity to pull your back flat, relaxing those tense muscles. Do this for 10 minutes.  

Stress-Relief Exercises:  

Complete these moves twice a day (once in mid morning and once in mid afternoon) to release the stress of the day. This helps prevent stress-induced belly fat from forming. Shoulder Stretch [caption id="attachment_125158" align="aligncenter" width="620"]shoulder stretch (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] Put on soothing music to put your body at ease. Stand with your chest lifted and your shoulder blades down. Bend your left arm behind your back and place the back of the left hand on your back and slide it up between your shoulder blades. Extend your right arm overhead and bend the elbow. Next, reach your right hand between your shoulders to touch your left hand. If your shoulders are too tight to let fingers interlock, place a rolled towel in your right hand and use that to make hands meet. Stretch your elbows in opposite directions and breathe deeply for 30 seconds. Release, switch sides and repeat. Seated Arch  [caption id="attachment_125159" align="aligncenter" width="620"]chair stretch stress relief (Photo by Hilmar Hilmar)[/caption] Sit straight on the edge of a chair and place your hands on the back of your pelvis (make sure you're comfortable). Squeezing your shoulder blades together, gently push your abs forward and lift your chest toward the ceiling. Drop your head backward as far as comfortably possible and hold for 10 seconds. Keep focused on deep breathing. Try these moves for yourself and let us know your results! What are your top belly fat blasting exercises? Source: Prevention

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