For those of you out there who are stressing about having a bikini-ready belly this summer, below are some tips about the best ways to strengthen your core.
"That's not an ab exercise, Hannah!" you are shouting. But cardio exercise is the first step to excavating that 6-pack of abs.
You can do all the sit-ups and strengthening moves that you want, but if you aren't also incorporating cardio activities three to five days a week, those stomach muscles will remain buried under that stubborn belly fat. Luckily for you, cardio comes in huge variety!
Not someone who likes to strap on their sweatbands and knee socks to hit the running track?
Don't stress! There are plenty of other things that you can incorporate into your day that will still give you a workout, get your heart pumping, and burn fat.
A few options that will ALSO strengthen your core at the same time:
Jumping jacks, jump rope or 180-degree squat jumps — all of these jumping moves will bring your heart rate up while engaging your stabilizing core muscles. Watch a demo here. Plan to do 3-4 rounds of 1-minute intervals with 30 second rest in between.
Mountain climbers or burpees — These two killer floor exercises will definitely make you huff and puff, but rely completely on strong core muscles. Remember to squeeze your belly during these moves, and try to do 3-4 sets of 45-second intervals, with 20-seconds rest in between.
Dancing — Yes! Think of this as permission to go out to the clubs. Turn up the music and show off your best moves. Or check out a Zumba class near you or online. These fun, sexy workout routines are a fantastic way to trick yourself into exercising.
Think about actively dancing for 30-40 minutes, to truly get a workout. And none of this stand-by-the-wall-and-nod-your-head kind of movement. Get your whole body out there!
Variation is the key to success when it comes to cardio. Mix it up so you don't get bored. This will make it easier to be active consistently.
1) "Water Induced Thermogenesis." Pubmed. Website accessed: 6/21/16.