You know that working off extra pounds can mean time spent on fierce exercise, but it can also be something easy that you can do from your chair.
Belly fat is a marker for cardiovascular and other diseases. According to Harvard Health, “a large study of European women ages 45 to 79 concluded that those with the biggest waists (and those with the largest waists in relation to their hip size) had more than double the risk of developing heart disease.” Keeping your heart healthy and lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease means getting rid of your belly fat and deeper visceral fat.
Your abdominal muscles are just waiting for you to try these 6 exercises so they can reveal themselves to you underneath that fat layer.
Here are 6 simple exercises you can do without even getting up:
1. Let it all hang out
Push your belly out as far as you can, making your stomach look big, round and full. This is a move that we usually try not to do because of how we look, but actually by not fully releasing our abdominals, we fail to experience our full range of motion. Excess belly fat can be caused by stress, and muscle tension in our abdominals is one area we store tension and fat in. Push your abs out and hold for a count of 10 seconds. Repeat for 3 sets.
2. Big belly breath
As you inhale, inhale into your belly first. Expanding the belly with air allows the lungs to be supported by a balloon under the diaphragm. This then allows your upper chest to fill with air. These are the 3 parts to a full inhale and exhale that fully expand your belly, mid and upper chest. Focus on several 3-part, full, deep breaths.
3. Bicycle hips
Lift your right hip up off the seat like you are adjusting your position without standing. Then lift your left hip. This alternating hip lift that moves your hips like riding a bicycle is a belly dance move that helps work the lower abdominals. Lift alternating hips for a count of 20. Repeat for three sets.
4. Chest drops
Pilates was originally developed for people on bed rest who weren’t physically able to do most exercises, so since you aren’t incapacitated, sitting all day is no excuse for belly fat. And we know that muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells.
As you inhale, your chest rises. Try lifting your chest by using your muscles, rather than your breath. This move is similar to putting a small arch in your back and sticking your chest out with your shoulders back. Now drop your chest down as if you were punched in the gut, but with a normal exhalation of air. Try 3 sets of 15 drops.
5. Touch your belly button to your spine
This exercise is the opposite of letting it all hang out. Pulling your abdominals in, contract your belly so that you feel like your belly button is going to be able to touch your spine from the inside. You should be able to breathe normally in and out while contracting your belly. Pull your belly button in to your spine and hold for a count of 10 seconds. Release. Repeat for three sets.
6. Breath of fire
A common yoga move, breath of fire is a panting breathing technique that is a great workout for your diaphragm muscle. Your upper abdominals are on top of the diaphragm muscle, which helps the lungs fully inhale. Do the breath of fire by sticking your tongue out and rest your hands on your thighs. Focus on a spot about 6” away on the ground in front of you and pant like a happy puppy.
Although exercises will help, they may not be all that is needed to reduce belly fat. Researchers at the National Institute of Health studied the effect of abdominal exercise on belly fat. They found “Six weeks of abdominal exercise training alone was not sufficient to reduce abdominal subcutaneous fat and other measures of body composition. Nevertheless, abdominal exercise training significantly improved muscular endurance.”
A sitting lifestyle is a modern annoyance, but you can find ways to rid yourself of belly fat without getting out of your chair. Consciously focusing your energy on abdominal strength exercises during your sitting hours will allow you to add healthy activity to a sedentary life.