Yes, you can! Without going to the floor for crunches, a good abdominal workout can be achieved right at your desk, pushed back from your computer and in less than 15 minutes with these seated core exercises. Now that’s exciting, isn’t it?
Because the core is basically at the center of your body, all movement stems from or passes through your core. In order to be able to move your arms and legs in the best possible manner, you need a flexible and strong core.
Household chores like vacuuming, mopping, and gardening as well as fun activities like racquetball, golf, bowling, boating and even sex all can be performed better with a strong core. And not seeing a so-called muffin top in your clothes is just another added plus.
The Importance of Core Strength
It’s probably not something you think about very often, but your core stabilizes your entire body. Anytime you move another body part, whether it’s your hips, arms or back, you also activate the muscles in your core to retain balance and remain upright.
And your core isn’t just made up of your stomach (although that’s the part most of us seem to want to focus on!). It also consists of the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abs, so if your core muscles are weak, it can lead to pain in these areas. My students are often surprised when they come to me about lower back pain and I recommend working on core strength. It’s all inter-connected.
Having strong core muscles ensures proper posture and alignment, which is harder to achieve as we age and become prone to slumping over. When we have a solid core, we can support the rest of our body effectively, especially our back and neck, reducing strain and pain in these areas.
The Danger of Visceral Fat
Aside from building a strong foundation for balance and movement, there’s another very important reason to focus on core exercise: to minimize visceral fat. Visceral fat is a potentially dangerous type of fat that’s stored deep within our stomachs.
Unlike the typical “belly fat” near the surface–the kind that you can pinch with your fingers–visceral fat lies deep within the abdominal cavity. It pushes up against vital organs, including the stomach, liver and intestines. The only definitive way to see it is by MRI or CT scan.
No one has warm fuzzy feelings about any kind of fat, but visceral fat comes with a new level of danger. It can increase insulin resistance and raise your blood pressure, even if you’ve never had diabetes. Most importantly, it increases your risk for developing many very serious health complications, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
I don’t say all of this to scare you, but rather so that you’re equipped with information. When you’re armed with the knowledge of just how deeply your waistline affects your health, it’s much easier to get motivated to take action. And, with this workout, you don’t even have to leave your chair.
Getting Rid of Visceral Fat
Visceral fat has one positive quality: it’s very receptive to changes in your diet and exercise routine. Every pound you lose also takes away some of that unwanted visceral fat. In addition to core strength exercises like this one, work to incorporate at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise, five times per week. We have dozens of free cardio videos for you to choose from here.
Finally, work on reducing stress. Stress leads to a spike in the hormone cortisol, which has been linked to an increase in the amount of visceral fat your body stores. Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are all great ways to use physical action to mitigate stress.
So why wait? Get started today. Make a commitment to do some form of core work three times a week. And I just bet that in a month (with attention to diet) you will see a huge and rewarding difference in your midsection.
To download my list of flat stomach foods, click here. This will give you some helpful suggestions of how to deviate from the starches, sugars, and high glycemic foods that add inches to your belly. To receive my latest workout videos as soon as they’re posted, simply enter your email address below.
And here’s to FEELING GOOD!