Stomach Exercises to Benefit the Heart

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Stomach Exercises to Benefit the Heart

A "spare tire" around your abdomen is worse than excess fat in your hips and thighs

One of the most common strains placed on your heart is the so-called spare tire that develops around your abdomen from poor diet and lack of activity. Believe it or not, a spare tire can be worse for your heart than excess fat in the hips and thighs.

Exercising regularly is one of the most basic things you can do to lose abdominal fat. Here are two I recommend. They should be started slowly, with five repetitions done twice a day, and gradually increase to 20 to 25 repetitions twice a day. (Of course, it's always a good idea to consult your health care provider before starting an exercise program).

Modified Sit-Up

  1. Lie flat on your back on the floor (beds are too soft), bringing your knees up to a bent position with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross your arms over your chest.
  3. Tuck your head in toward your chest and then raise yourself off the floor, just until your shoulder blades clear the floor.
  4. Hold this position until the stomach muscles begin to quiver. Allow your stomach muscles to quiver for three to five seconds and then return to the flat position on your back.
  5. Rest three to five seconds before starting again

This is not a quick exercise and you must rest between each repetition. Also, be sure to tuck the head in before coming up, because if you don't, you will pull up with your neck and stress it. Sometimes it is easier to start with a pillow under your head, which allows your head to start in a naturally tucked position.

This exercise should be started slowly, with possibly five repetitions done twice a day. Gradually increase to 20 to 25 twice a day.

Sit-Back Exercise

If you have very weak abdominal muscles and can't lift yourself off the floor with a modified sit-up, here is an exercise for you. This is an especially good exercise for people who have lower back pain due to no support from the muscles in the stomach area.

  1. Start in a sitting position on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor (you can hook your feet under a piece of furniture.)
  2. Cross your arms over the chest and roll the head and shoulders forward.
  3. Now gradually lean back, making sure to keep your head and shoulders tucked. Keep going until you begin to feel the stomach muscles tighten.
  4. Then lean back just a little further (if you are able) and hold that position until your muscles begin to quiver. Let your muscles quiver to the count of five, then return to the (upright) resting position for another count of five.
  5. Repeat.

Enhanced Modified Sit-Up

Once you have mastered the modified sit-up, you can try this enhanced version, which works all of the stomach muscles. Do this by rotating your shoulders just slightly as you perform the basic exercise.

  1. First do a modified sit-up.
  2. The second time, as you come up, twist so that your right shoulder is just slightly pointing toward the left knee.
  3. The third time, twist slightly so the left shoulder is pointing toward the right knee.
  4. Continue to alternate the above pattern throughout the exercise.

Remember, you are never trying to touch the knees or even come close to them. You are just coming up far enough to raise the shoulder blades off the floor. If the exercise is done right, you shouldn't even feel it in the lower back.

Enhanced Sit-Back Exercise

To modify the sit-back in the same way as the sit-up, alternate all three positions while doing the "sit-back."

  1. Straight back.
  2. Then with the shoulders slightly twisted to the right.
  3. Next, with shoulders slightly twisted to the left.
  4. Continue to alternate the above pattern throughout the exercise.
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