Category: Exercise

Sag-Proofing Your Bust

Sag-Proofing Your Bust

When summer comes and bathing suit season is upon you, the last thing you want to worry about is a pair of sagging breasts. There are things you can do, thankfully, to help keep your bust a little perkier so you can dare to bare a little more this summer. The ticket is consistency, so keep up these good habits all year round to make the biggest difference.

Support

A big part of keeping your breasts up where they belong is the right support. “Right” is the key word here.

* The Right Bra – Not every bra is designed to keep you looking your best. In fact, a lot of underwiring and other uncomfortable bra parts can often do more harm than good. For the very best and long-lasting results, you should have a professional fit you into the right bra for your shape.

* Sports Bras – Sports bras are great for support, especially when you are very active. Make sure that you aren’t just flattening your breasts until you can’t breathe, however.

The correct sports bra should hold your breasts up against you securely, while still allowing you to breathe and move comfortably.

Moisturize

Breasts are covered in some of the most sensitive skin of your whole body. This means that the skin there requires plenty of extra attention to keep it looking young and healthy.

* Moisturize – Most women spend a lot of time slathering moisturizing products on their faces to avoid wrinkles and other skin issues, but that isn’t the only place these problems can pop up.

It is important that you keep the skin on and around your breasts moisturized as the skin there can easily dry out, stretch, and wrinkle. The skin on your breasts is extremely absorbent, so keep them happy with multiple applications a day.

* The Right Products – Just like on your face, your breasts could benefit from ingredients that help ward off wrinkles and increase elasticity. Look for firming ingredients like collagen and vitamin B3 and make sure these are main ingredients in the products you choose. Also try to avoid too many unnatural and chemical additives, as these will be easily absorbed into your body as well.

Protect

Especially during the summer, there is much to be done to protect your bust and keep it looking great. Protect your sensitive breast from the harsh effects of cold weather, wind, and the sun. Protection isn’t just about shielding your skin from the weather, though.

* SPF – You already know how much damage the sun’s rays can do to your skin, and your breast are absolutely no exception.

Keep those tatas protected from sunburn, premature wrinkling, discoloration, and more simply by slathering on the sunscreen whenever you get a chance. Also make sure that you are applying SPF year-round, as ultraviolet rays from the sun can penetrate clothing.

* Sleeping Positions – To help keep your breasts looking perky, consider how you sleep. If you typically sleep on your stomach, you might want to consider flipping over and sleeping sunny side up. When you sleep on your breasts, you could be pulling them down and stretching the skin out.

There are lots of ways you can keep your breasts looking perky rather than saggy for the upcoming swimsuit season. Be consistent with treating your breasts right and you’ll be looking perky and perfect all summer.

Improve Your Cardio

Improve Your Cardio

If you are looking to trim down and tone up for the summer, you really need to be incorporating some cardiovascular exercise into your routines.

Why Is Cardio Important?

Cardiovascular workouts get your heart rate working, the blood pumping, and the pounds melting away. It is one of the most important components of a well-rounded exercise regimen.

What Can Cardio Do for Me?

A great cardio workout can help you shed pounds and target problem areas, not to mention how important it is for heart and overall health.  Getting breathless four or maybe five times per week can have significant benefits in many areas.

How Much Cardio Should I Be Doing?

It is recommended that you get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day or more. You can, however, combine that amount into specific days’ workouts. For example, you can do one hour of cardio every other day.

I Don’t Have Time to Go to a Gym; Can I Get Enough Cardio in My Own Home?

Absolutely; there are tons of cardio workouts that you can do from home. Most require little to no equipment, and you can also get home workout machines to help you.

Home Cardio Exercises

* Jump Rope – You can purchase a jump rope very inexpensively at most sporting or department stores. This simple piece of equipment is one of the very best cardiovascular workouts and can actually be a lot of fun. You remember how to do it from when you were a kid, and you will be surprised how much it gets your heart rate up.  Just remember to leave plenty of space around!

* Trampoline – Whether you go outside and use your kids’ giant trampoline, or purchase a small single use trampoline for your home, simply bouncing around on one of these is a great cardio workout. You can do it while you are watching television or listening to music, and it is fun to work in lots of arm and hip movements as well.  Be careful of the overhead light!

* Walking/Jogging – Using a treadmill, your staircase, or getting outside for a walk or jog is perhaps the easiest way for anyone to get some great cardiovascular exercise. A brisk walk around your neighborhood can do wonders for your overall health and fitness level.  No wonder dog owners are usually so fit.

* Aerobic Exercises – These days, you can download, purchase, or watch exercise videos of all types just about anywhere. Aerobics, Jazzercise, Zumba and more are all excellent cardio workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home.

* Home Machinery – If you have the room and budget for it, you can purchase gym equipment for your own home. Machines like treadmills and elliptical machines are excellent for getting regular cardiovascular exercise.

Cardio workouts are more than just great workouts for weight loss and shedding pounds for bathing suit season. Getting enough cardio is important for your overall health and is one of the most important parts of a heart-healthy lifestyle.

You can improve your cardio by working these simple exercises into your daily life, or increasing your cardio workouts to something a little more intensive if your heart rate isn’t quite high enough. On top of it all, cardio workouts are guaranteed to make you feel great as well as look great.

Get Six-Pack Abs

Get Six-Pack Abs

Everyone wants those cut, six-pack abs, especially come summertime when you can really show them off. Ladies in their bikinis and crop tops and guys shirtless all the time, looking great is taken to a whole new level when you have the definition. You can obtain that awesome six-pack with the right amount of consistency and willpower.

Obtaining six-pack abs comes down to the usual diet and exercise, but understanding the specifics is what will make the difference between trying for six-pack abs and actually getting them.

Diet

* Eat Clean – The key to a healthy diet that is effective for dropping excess weight and trimming fat is eating “clean”. This means avoiding processed foods, fast foods, and other foods that are high in fat, sodium, and chemicals. Instead eat an all-natural diet that focuses on plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein sources.

* Eat Enough – Many people consider diets to be all about withholding food, but that is simply not the case for healthy and effective diets.

Start thinking about the word “diet” in a different way, which simply means eating better for a healthier lifestyle. You should always eat enough calories to feed your body so that you have enough energy and fuel to keep your body healthy.

* Go Plant Based: Eating a mostly raw, plant-based diet has shown to be extremely effective for weight loss and healthy lifestyles of all types. This is a great diet to explore for anyone that is looking to trim excess belly fat and make room for those cut abs.

* Stay Hydrated – Drinking enough water and fluids is an important part of any diet. You want to keep those muscles hydrated.

Exercise

* Consistency Is Key – When you are looking to trim fat and define muscles, remember that consistency with your exercises is the most important factor. After all, you can’t just do one workout and expect it to work. You need to target particular muscle groups and repeat these exercises on a consistent basis.

* Keep Up With Cardio: To get those six pack abs, you cannot just rely on crunches alone. Cardio workouts are an important part of any exercise regimen, especially because it helps you trim excess fat. As your abdominals get stronger, you may notice that you use them more during your cardio workouts, too.

* Core Strengthening – Definition starts at your core. This group of muscles, including your abdominals and back muscles, helps maintain your balance and makes your targeted abdominal exercises exponentially more effective. Most core exercises, like planking and v-sit exercises, are also more effective for defined abs than most crunches.

* The Right Workouts – As mentioned before, getting six-pack abs isn’t just about crunches. In fact, you will need many targeted exercises to reach all of the different parts of your abdominal muscles to achieve six-pack abs. These targeted exercises combined with core strengthening workouts are what will make those six-pack abs happen.

If you follow these key fundamentals and stay motivated to follow through, you can obtain those sexy six-pack abs. Just imagine how good you will look poolside or walking along the beach this summer, and how positively great you will feel.

Flushing Body Fat

Flushing Body Fat

As the weather is heating up, it is time to start thinking about swimsuit season.

For many, that means it is crunch time when it comes to getting rid of some targeted fat deposits that you have stored up from the long winter. No worries, however; here are eight body fat flushing tips and techniques that can help you shape up for summer.

1. Hydrate

The number one rule for flushing body fat is keeping hydrated. No matter how many tips or techniques you use from this list or others, drinking plenty of fluids, mainly water, is your key to staying healthy and successfully flushing the fat from your body. In fact, proper hydration alone can help you flush a lot of fat and toxins out of your body.

2, Cleanse

There are a lot of marketed cleanses that are either sold or homemade. One of the most popular is a drink made with water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Some of these cleanses have very effective marketing strategies, but make sure that you talk to your doctor before you try any new exercise program, cleanse, or other diet-related trial.

3. Juice

A great way to get lots of vitamins and nutrients while effectively flushing body fat in a healthy way is to get a juicer. Juicing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is a great and delicious way to get all the good stuff you need in the easiest way possible.

Not only are you putting lots of good stuff in your body, but drinking lots of fresh juice will help get your bowels moving so you are literally cleaning out your colon.

4. Detox

There are many ways to detox, but the main idea of detoxing is to promote a clean and healthy diet without processed foods. While removing these foods from your diet, you also are cleansing your body of the remaining toxins that are left over from these foods.

Many people, for example, use a cleanse like the one mentioned before or do a juice fast for a day or more to detox their bodies from the sodium, sugar, and chemicals that are abundant in processed foods.

5. Go Raw

A truly great and very effective way to cleanse, detox, and flush fat from your body is to start eating raw. Specifically, this means only eating raw fruits and vegetables.

Some people choose to do this 100% of the time, while others eat raw except for one meal of the day – usually dinner. Eating raw vegan is a safe and effective way to flush body fat, as long as you make sure you are paying attention to eating enough calories per day.

6. Fiber Fix

Getting plenty of fiber is another way to get the bowels moving and flush fat directly from your system. A healthy metabolism often depends on lots of fiber-rich foods like apples, leafy greens, and whole grains.

These foods are practically a toothbrush for your insides, loosening up all of that extra stuff that needs to come out.

7. Superfoods

Eating a diet that is rich in antioxidant-packed foods is another great way to supplement your diet and exercise program to help flush body fat.

Foods like fresh blueberries, leafy greens, pomegranate, and nuts are all considered “superfoods” because of all of the vitamins and nutrients that are packed into each and every bite.

8. Work It Out

Of course, one of the best ways to flush fat from your body is to get your body moving. Exercise does more than just tone your muscles; it helps keep your bowels healthy and regular, and keeps your blood pumping. Exercise is a very important part of any healthy lifestyle, and is especially important if you want to do some fat flushing.

These fat flushing tips and techniques will help you get to looking your best this summer.

Remember to speak to your doctor about any decisions you make about diet and exercise, to make sure that you are making the healthiest choices for you. Good overall health, of course, is the most important thing you need to look great this summer.

Firming the Butt

Firming the Butt

If there is one thing you want to look good this swimsuit season, it’s your butt. After all, it is one of the hardest parts to hide in a tiny swimsuit, and the most likely to jiggle in ways that you might not want it to.

Luckily, there are exercises you can do to get your butt looking toned and firm.

Squats

Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart, with your arms down by your sides. Slowly bend at the knees, extending your arms out in front of you, until you are at an almost sitting position – or lower if you can manage. Hold this position for a few seconds, and then slowly rise and come to your original standing position. Repeat this action 20 times, rest, and then repeat.

Chair Squats

This squat option is better for beginners who don’t quite have the core strength to complete regular squats. In this version, you can stand in front of a chair. Complete the same movements, hovering just above the chair. Repeat 20 times, rest, and then repeat.

Jump Squats

This exercise puts a bit more “oomph” into your squats. Start in the same position as regular squats, and complete the squat as usual except that when you are coming up, jump into the air. Jump up about one foot, and remember to bend your knees slightly coming back down to prevent injury.

Hip Lifts

Start by lying flat on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Using the muscles in your butt, lift your pelvis into the air, keeping your feet flat on the floor.

Experiment with moving your feet closer to your body or farther away to get the most effective resistance. Complete 50 repetitions, rest, and then repeat twice.

Extended Hip Lifts

This is a slightly more advanced version of regular hip lifts. In this version, you will extend one leg out straight while completing the same motions. Do 15 repetitions and then alternate to the other leg before resting and then repeating for a total of three cycles.

Lunges

Begin in your standing position, with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Step out with one foot, about two feet straight in front of you.

Keep your torso straight, bend at the knees until your back knee almost touches the floor, and then straighten back up and return to the beginning standing position. Alternate legs, completing 20 repetitions on each side before you rest and then repeat.

Toe Taps

Start by lying on your back with your legs elevated and knees bent to a 45 degree angle, and then bring your knees closer to your chest. From this position, bring one foot down and tap the ground, and then bring that leg back to the starting position. Alternating feet, complete this motion for one minute before you rest, and then repeat twice.

Superman Lunges

This is a slightly different take on lunges that works out a different part of your butt and the backs of your thighs. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, arms down by your sides. In one fluid movement, lean forward and elevate one leg behind you, bringing your arms up in the air.

The motion should remind you of Superman taking flight – thus the name. Return to the beginning position and then repeat, alternating sides, 15 times per side. Rest and then repeat twice.

The butt might be a big problem area for many people trying to look good in their swimsuits, but it is actually one of the easiest areas of the body to exercise.

Complete these exercises at least two to three times a week consistently and you will be summer ready in no time.

Defining Leg Muscles

Defining Leg Muscles

There are two main reasons you would want to tone and define your leg muscles to get ready for summer. The first, of course, is so you can look great strutting around in your swimsuit all season. The other is so you will have no problems trudging through the sand on all those long walks on the beach. Try these exercises to help define your leg muscles.

Free Squats

Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Holding your arms out in front of you and keeping your posture straight, bend at the knees until you are at an almost sitting position. Hold that pose for a five seconds and then use your legs to straighten back up. Repeat ten times, three repetitions in total.

Wall Squats

Leaning your back against a wall, place your feet about two feet in front of you at about shoulder width apart. With your arms either out in front of you or straight down on the wall for extra support, bend at the knees until you are as close to a sitting position as you can get.

Hold for five seconds and then use your legs to straighten back up to a standing position. Repeat the action ten times, three repetitions in total.

Scissor Kicks

Lie flat on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your knees bent, raise your legs into the air as if you were sitting in a chair. Keeping your thighs as still as possible, criss-cross your calves back and forth. Continue this motion for 30 to 45 seconds at a time, repeating the exercise five times.

Horizontal Leg Lifts

Lie on the floor on one side with one leg stacked on the other and your hand at your hip. Keep your legs straight and lift the top leg slowly as high as you can without straining. If you feel pain, stop. Repeat this motion 20 times on each side, and then repeat the whole process three times.

Standing Leg Lifts

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on your hips and bend forward at the waist at about 45 degrees.

Keeping one foot firmly planted on the floor; lift the other leg back as far as you can raise it without straining, keeping both legs straight. Repeat 20 times per leg, and then repeat the process twice.

Lunges

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips, step out with one foot about two feet in front of you.

Bend both legs and almost touch the back knee to the ground, then straighten back up and return to a standing position. Repeat this process, alternating which leg you step out with, until you have done 20 lunges on each side.

Walk It Out

If you are looking for a very easy and effective leg-defining workout, simply look to your daily routine. Start walking everywhere that you are able; go for walks on your lunch break, and always opt to take the stairs. Walking is low impact and is a great leg as well as cardiovascular workout.

Dance It Off

Dancing works out the whole body, especially the legs. Start frequenting salsa night, or take some classes during the week to get the most out of this fun exercise.

The key to any great leg-defining workout is consistency. Do these exercises a few times a week, and don’t skip repetitions if you can avoid it.

Also notice that most of these exercises rely on the resistance of your own body instead of machines or equipment, so doing these exercises slowly will help you get the most out of each and every motion.

Toning the Tummy

Toning the Tummy

The tummy is a problem area for most people when it comes to getting toned and ready for bikini season. As the weather heats up, you want to be looking hot poolside and on the beach, and a toned torso is just the ticket. Here are some great tummy toning exercises you can do in your own home to get ready for summer.

Crunches

Lying flat on the ground, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, put your hands behind your head. Using your abdominal muscles and keeping your neck straight, raise your shoulders off the ground. Repeat this motion 30 times, rest, and then repeat twice.

Knee Touches

Lie flat on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, and put your hands behind your ears. Keeping your posture straight, and without bending your arms, use your abdominal muscles to touch your left elbow to your right knee. Repeat this action, alternating sides, 30 times. Rest, then repeat twice.

Bicycle

This exercise is much like knee touches, but slightly more advanced. This time, lift your feet and legs off the ground as if you were sitting.

When you bring your elbow up to meet the opposite knee, straighten out the leg on the side of the elbow you are using. Do this all in a continuous motion, without stopping, and your legs will move as if riding a bicycle. Repeat the action 30 times, rest, and then repeat twice.

Straight Scissor Kicks

Lie completely flat on the floor with your hands under the small of your back. Using your abdominal muscles, raise your legs off the ground at a 45 degree angle. Criss-cross your legs back and forth for 30 to 45 seconds at a time, rest, and then repeat five times.

Bent Scissor Kicks

This variation of the scissor kick will have you start by lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, lift your feet and legs off the ground in a sitting position. Keeping your knees bent and thighs steady, criss-cross your calves back and forth for 30 to 45 seconds, rest, and then repeat five times.

Leg Lifts

Lie flat on the floor with your legs together and hands under the small of your back. Use your abdominal muscles to lift your legs, pressing them together and keeping them straight, off the ground about three inches. Hold this position for ten seconds, and then return to the starting position. Repeat ten times.

Reaches

Lie with your back flat on the floor and your legs up in the air so that your body is at a 90-degree angle. Holding your arms straight out above you, use your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders off the ground and touch your toes, then return to the starting position. Repeat this 30 times, rest, and then repeat the entire process two more times.

Penguin Touches

Lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Position your feet a little wider than shoulder length apart.

With your arms straight out beside you, lift your shoulders off the ground slightly and touch each ankle, moving side to side. Repeat this motion for 30 to 45 seconds, rest, then repeat five times.

All of these exercises are easily done in the comfort of your own home and each targets key parts of your abdominal muscles to help you tone your tummy. As with any toning exercises, consistency is key, so make sure to do this full workout at least three times a week or up to every other day.

Toning and Strengthening the Traps, Lats and Back Muscles

Toning and Strengthening the Traps, Lats and Back Muscles

As you are getting ready for the summer swimsuit season, you are likely focusing a lot on your tummy, thighs, and butt to make sure you look great. Don’t forget the importance of exercising and toning your back muscles, though.

After all, your back is likely to get a lot more sun this summer as you bare more skin. Don’t worry, however, because there are lots of exercises you can do to tone and strengthen your traps, lats, and back.

Exercising and strengthening the back does more than just help your back view look good. These exercises can help improve your overall posture and help you avoid injury when exercising as well as in your daily life. Try some of these targeted exercises.

Traps

Traps, or the trapezius muscles, are best worked out with targeted exercises. These will target your back and the backs of your shoulders.

* Shrugs – Depending on your level of fitness, you can either use the resistance of your own body, resistance bands, dumbbells, or barbells to complete this exercise. The object is to simply shrug your shoulders, holding the shrug and then releasing carefully, with your arms off to your side. Holding weights or resistance bands helps to create more tension.

* Kettlebell Pulls – Stand with your legs wider than shoulder width apart, with a kettlebell of your chosen weight in front on you. Bend your knees to pick up the kettlebell with both hands, but then keep your legs mostly straight for the remainder of the exercise. Using both hands in the middle of your body, lift the kettlebell to belly button height, then down again.

Lats

Lats, or latissimus dorsi, are best worked out with exercises that involve putting your hands above your head and pulling down. Here are some examples of useful exercises for lats:

* Chin-Ups – Find or install a secure bar that can hold more than your body weight, for safety. Grab the bar with your hands out wider than shoulder width, hands facing away from you. Pull your body up until your chin is above the bar, then slowly let yourself back down.

* Pull-Downs – Using resistance bands or gym equipment, use resistance to pull the bar or bands from above you using both hands. Bring the bar or resistance band behind your head, and then return and repeat.

Back

To work out your entire back, you are better off focusing on doing multiple targeted exercises as well as full-back workouts. These will help trim fat off your back and tone and sculpt the muscles there to give you a great-looking back.

* Core Exercises – Many core exercises are great for your full body, including your abs and butt muscles. Core exercises are excellent for your back, and can help you increase strength and balance to be able to complete other more difficult workouts. Planks are an example of an easy home exercise that works out your entire body, including your back, very well.

* Lying Dumbbell Lifts – Using a bench, lie front down so that your arms are dangling. Grab your chosen weight of dumbbells with both hands. Lift the dumbbells out away from your body, so that your arms are spread out like flying, and then slowly return your arms back down and repeat.

These exercises will help you tone and strengthen your traps, lats, and overall back muscles. This will help you look great this summer when you dare to bare your back, and will help you look leaner and stronger overall.

Remember that consistency is key, so repeat these exercises multiple times a week to keep those muscles working and looking their best.

Stretching for Flexibility

Stretching for Flexibility

When people consider their diet and exercise regimen and how they can improve it, they very rarely consider the benefits of simple stretching. Stretching can help you increase your balance, strength, and flexibility. Stretching for flexibility especially is beneficial in all aspects of your active life.

Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Stretching

Stretching has so many benefits. At all levels, there are stretches that can be done to help increase your flexibility and strength, and even your balance. This can help you avoid injuries, feel limber, and give you more range of motion and energy.

How Stretching and Flexibility Helps Your Workouts

Stretching your muscles is a great way to prepare them for workouts of any kind, and is also a great way to cool down from a workout. Stretching before and after workouts helps work out lactic acid, prevents injury, and helps you feel less sore. Not to mention that the added flexibility will help you get the most out of your workouts.

Great Stretches for Flexibility

* Lunge Stretches – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Step out wide with one foot, and then bend that knee, bringing the back leg down against the ground. Get as close to the ground as you can, trying to touch your shin to the ground. Hold this pose and then repeat on the opposite leg.

* Seated Twists – Sit on the ground with your feet out in front of you and then twist your torso to one side. Then bring your arms around to help pull your torso into a good twist. Hold this pose and then repeat on the opposite side. You can also do a second variation of this stretch with your legs folded “criss-cross”.

* Folding Stretch – Stand up straight with your feet just slightly apart. Keeping your posture straight, bend at the waist and try to hug your knees. If you are not quite at that level, just try to touch your toes or use blocks or the bottom stair to stretch as far as possible.

* Butterflies – Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Bring your legs in and touch the bottoms of your feet together, knees bent outward. Keeping your knees as flat on the ground as possible, grab your feet and try to bring them closer to your body. Without straining yourself, bounce your knees up and down a bit.

* Yoga Poses – There are a huge amount of yoga poses that are aimed specifically at increasing your flexibility. Two of these poses are called “baby cobra” and “downward facing dog”.

* Baby Cobra – Lie face down on the ground with your arms near your head, palms on the ground. Use your hands to push the top portion of your body off the ground, curving your spine backwards and looking up to the sky.

* Downward Facing Dog – Start in push-up position, and then push your arms up, folding your body in half so your bottom is up in the air and your head and arms are down. Your heels should be flat on the ground, stretching your entire body.

* Behind the Head Elbow Stretch – In either a sitting or standing position, simply reach one arm behind your head. Using the opposite arm, grab your elbow and press to increase the stretch. Hold the stretch and repeat on the opposite side.

Stretching for flexibility will help you will all facets of your healthy lifestyle and exercise regimen. These stretches alone will be beneficial for your whole body and daily life, and when paired with your exercise routine will make a huge difference.

Strengthening Your Core

Strengthening Your Core

To get ready for swimsuit season, you are probably doing a lot of targeted exercises to get in shape. You are likely focusing on your abs and thighs the most, and doing what you can to drop a few extra pounds before you have to squeeze into that swimsuit.

There is a huge factor that many people are missing out on as they are getting ready for summer, however, and to their own detriment. That factor is the importance of core strengthening.

What Exactly Is the Core?

Your core muscles are a group of muscles running down the center of your body. These include your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and your pelvis. All of these muscles contribute to your overall balance and strength.

How Does Core Strengthening Help?

Core strengthening helps on many levels. At its most basic, your core strength comes into play in everyday activities such as lifting your groceries and vacuuming your house.

Your core is your center of balance and strength for almost everything you do, especially when it comes to working out and getting in shape. A strong core can help you be more successful with all your workouts, as it gives you the best canvas to work from.

How Can I Strengthen My Core?

Core strengthening exercises are the best way to get your core in shape. These exercises will not only improve your core strength, but they will also help you tone your abdominal muscles, back, butt, and thighs so you can make big strides toward your summer fitness goals.

Even better, these exercises can all be done from home so there is no gym membership required.

Core Exercises

1. Yoga and pilates

Yoga and pilates type exercises are the most popular workout routines that are aimed toward building a strong and healthy core. You can find yoga and pilates videos online, on DVD, or even learn poses from books and magazines. These are easy to do from home and most routines do not even require any sort of equipment.

2. Planking

Planks are an exercise that you might find difficult in the beginning, but as you core strengthens you will find it easier over time. Planking is great for the whole body, from your arms all the way down through your legs, and is actually touted as being a better exercise for your abs than crunches.

Start by getting into push-up position on the floor, but rest on your arms at 90-degree angles. Straighten your whole body out, through to your feet up on your toes. Use your core muscles to hold the position for as long as possible. Each day, hold a little longer.

3. Balance ball

Using a balance ball helps you to focus on your core muscles when doing certain exercises. You can use a balance ball to do push-ups, crunches, and more. Even simply sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair helps you strengthen your core muscles during the day.

4. V-sit

Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lean back to a 45 degree angle and hold your arms out straight beside you. Slowly lift your feet off the ground, using your core to keep yourself steady. Extend your legs out so that your body forms a “V”. Hold this position as long as possible, using your extended arms to help maintain your balance.

5. Tucks

Start in the same position as the v-sit, leaning back at the 45 degree angle and arms straight out beside you. Extend your legs out just like in the v-sit, but then bring them back to your body, not resting them on the floor. Repeat this motion ten times, rest, and then repeat.

6. Bicycles

Starting in crunch position with your hands behind your ears, reach your elbow to the opposite knee, extending the other leg out. Repeat the motion, alternating sides, and working your legs as if riding a bicycle. Continue the motion for an extended period of time, at least 30 seconds, before resting and then repeating.

Core strengthening is where great workouts and a great body start. If you are wanting to get toned and fit for summer, core exercises are what you want to focus on.