Your recent addition to the wardrobe may be a gorgeous dress that falls nicely onto your body, allowing you to show off all the right curves, but there may be something that keeps you from flaunting this beauty at a party. Is it your love handles? Love handles, also often referred to as a muffin top, might be adorable to look at but not when they bulge from underneath a fitting shirt worn over neatly cut pants. A lot of women are constantly faced with this problem and are always on the lookout for exercises that will help them perfect these troubled areas. Though many women like to believe that doing crunches is going to help them shape up and get a lean stomach, it’s important to understand that crunches can only help stimulate the abdominal muscles and not specifically remove unwanted belly fat (also known as spot reduction). Therefore, what works best is combining cardio workouts along with specific abdominal exercises and a clean diet to attack the problem from all angles.
To start with, one solution to this problem would be to do some cardio exercise. Cardio, also referred to as aerobic exercise, are physical exercises that makes the heart beat faster and pumps more blood throughout your system which helps to strengthen your heart and lungs. Activities like swimming, running, jogging, walking and cycling fall under this category of exercise. Cardio exercises help burn calories, increases metabolism, increase the requirement of energy in the body, and also increase the circulation of blood through the system. It is also known to improve mood and stamina, as shown by studies by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. It is therefore common for people who intend on losing fat or improving the health of their heart to opt for a cardio workout routine. This also explains why people who want to trim up their love handles are routinely advised to include cardio exercise in their overall workout program.
Having well-defined abs and obliques (love handles) is difficult as long as you have extra flab in the abdominal and core area. This is precisely where cardio exercise steps in and helps you start by burning the extra flab. Once this has been done, you can proceed to toning your muscles, as you watch the fat around your love handles eventually go away. Cardio exercise also works effectively for those suffering from lung related diseases too as suggested by research by the Mason-National Institutes of Health collaboration. This only ensures that a number of people, irrespective of their health status, can benefit from these exercises.
Keeping these advantages in mind, here are 5 great exercises that will help you perfect those love handles and waistline:
#1. Start with a Run
There’s nothing like kick-starting the day with an early morning run to make your way towards shaping up your stomach and midsection. Running helps burn twice the amount of calories as walking, and burning the extra fat around your waist is a good start to shaping your love handles. It also helps strengthen bones and assists in the building of stamina which could be of use during other cardio exercises. Apart from running shoes, there is very little equipment that is required for this cardio exercise.
#2. Torso Twister for The Dancing Soul
Dancing makes for a fun activity for those who love spending some time with peppy music while sweating it out. A great exercise such as the Torso Twister is just what you need if you want to make your workout fun. Position your arms in front of your chest and place your feet together. Upon moving your left foot in and twisting your waist to the left, bring your right foot in and untwist your waist. Repeat this routine with your right leg. Play just the right kind of dance music, and repeat this routine in a loop for an entire song. These movements will most certainly help tone the muscles around your waist and be a fun activity at the same time.
#3. Bicycle Crunches
This exercise is considered to be the most effective workout for toning the abs, as it ensures that the abdominal wall muscles and the obliques get flexed and activated adequately. Spread out a mat on the floor, lay on your back, bring your legs forward in the table top position, and place both your hands behind your head with shoulder blades in the air. Stretch your left leg in the air; bring your right leg closer to the chest with the left shoulder touching the right knee. Repeat this around 20 times. Elbows should be kept wide and care should be taken so as to not pull your head with your hands. This cardio exercise works wonders by helping you flex your largest abdominal muscle, the rectus abdominus.
#4. Mountain Climbers
This exercise is ideal for a session before or after a run in the morning. Place yourself in the push-up position, with weight balancing on your hands, keeping your arms stretched out while placing your hands on the floor and the rest of the body weight on your toes. Pull your right leg forward, folding it at the knee, allowing your body weight to rest onto the ball of the left foot. Repeat the same with your right leg and continue doing so without a break for at least 30 seconds. A cardio exercise such as this one helps strengthen your abs and eventually your flabby muffin top will vanish!
#5. Design a Routine for Yourself
If you think that one particular cardio exercise is not intense enough for you, you can always plan out a 15 to 20 minute cardio workout session that is a combination of several exercises. You could include a minute each of different cardio exercises such as the jumping oblique twist, jumping jacks, lateral jumps, sumo squats, all of which mainly focus on the core and the lower regions of the body and help define the midsection effectively. Similarly, one could add 20 flutter kicks, Pilates side hip raises, toe touch crunches, Pilates leg pulls, jackknife crunches and reclined oblique twists each. This routine will offer a complete flexing of all the muscles of the abdominal region while helping you burn a sufficient number of calories during the workout.
Doing cardio exercise makes for an excellent start to the day as it tends to pump you up with energy instead of tiring you out. Studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine have already established links between cardio exercise and depression, which supports the fact that when coupled with a healthy diet, not only do cardio exercise help you carve out perfect abdominals, they also ensure that you are comfortable with your body and carry yourself with utmost self-confidence!