You think the old adage ‘no pain, no gain’ is totally true when it comes to your abs? Not so, says Paige Waehner, a Chicago-based personal trainer. There are plenty of ways you can engage your core all day long for fitness and weight loss — without hours of mat work at the gym or at home. With these tips, you can work your way to flatter abs while you’re on your way to work, while you’re at work, and when you’re relaxing at home. Even better, these eight moves are simple enough that they’re the perfect starter routine for any fitness level:
1) Take five for morning fitness: Ballerinas are known for their flat stomachs, so spend five minutes copying this dance move when you get up in the morning: Stand to the left of a chair and rest your left hand on the chair’s back. Keep your legs together. Touch your heels, and point your toes out to form a triangle. Lift your right arm straight up, reaching for the ceiling. Now hinge forward at the waist, round your back, and reach your right hand toward the floor, touching it if you can. Holding the position, tighten your abs, bringing your belly button in toward your spine. Exhale and slowly lift yourself to the starting position. A complete repetition should take about 20 seconds. Do five repetitions in all, adding more reps as you feel stronger.
2) Work your core as you commute: Driving to work or taking public transit? Do some isometric contractions while on your way. Pull your abs in and contract without holding your breath. Hold for a few seconds and then release. Here’s a good way to be sure you do it enough to benefit: “Repeat for at least two songs on the radio,” Waehner says.
3)Stretch at your desk: Once you’re at work and at your desk, try these seated rotations. Hold a full water bottle, paperweight, or small hand weight between both hands. Sit up tall and keep your hips and knees forward. Slowly rotate the bottle from one side of your body to the other side, concentrating on contracting your obliques, Waehner advises. Extra: If you squeeze your weight of choice as you rotate, you will engage your chest.
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