5 Core Exercises Every Woman Should Do


How to do it: Sit up tall on the floor with your legs out straight and palms down, fingertips pointing towards your feet. Maintain your tall and lifted spine as you lean back, balance on your sits-bones, and lift your legs up off the floor as high as you feel comfortable; use your fingertips to help balance and bend your knees as much as you need to accommodate for your level of strength and flexibility. Lift your arms up so your fingertips are alongside your knees.

Hold this pose for 10 slow counts as you focus on staying tall and keeping your chest lifted. As you get stronger, try to straighten your legs out.

Pilates Double Leg Stretch

Why it Works: Analysis of this exercise shows strong involvement of the bottom segments of the abs, which Olson said is ideal for women who find themselves fighting lower ab pooch as they age.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your belly button pulled in towards your spine. Bring your knees in towards your chest and grasp your shins in your hands as you round your back to lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor. Inhale deeply as you simultaneously extend your legs out straight about a foot off the floor and stretch your arms behind you so that your elbows are alongside your ears.

Exhale strongly as you sweep your arms around in a circle and pull your knees back into your chest.

Bonus Tips

No amount of exercise will make your middle look flatter if you're bloated. The secret to counteracting belly bloat is a mix of calorie burning cardio on a regular basis, easing up on sodium and drinking water, water and more water. Olson also pointed out that carbonated drinks, even diet soda, can cause the tummy to distend so giving up fizzy drinks can help keep help bloat at bay.

Recommended Ab Workouts on DVD

Gorgeous Core from Suzanne Bowen. Six quick segments focusing on care muscles ranging from 5 to 12-minutes long. $17.95 Fitness Prescription: Perfect Legs, Glutes & Abs. All exercises has been lab tested for maximum effectiveness. $14.99

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