The quest for a whittled waistline gets more difficult as you age. The factor: hormone changes encourage excess calories to make a beeline for your tummy, where they are stored as – you guessed it- fat. When scientists at the University of Vermont checked 178 healthy-weight ladies ages 20 to 60, the earliest had 55% more stomach fat than the youngest.
A bigger stomach, however, isn’t inescapable, and tummy-toning exercises can help. A pilates exercise and training is your trump card because it works all your stomach muscles: the six-pack rectus abdominis, which runs down your center; the waist-defining obliques, which wrap around your sides; and the deep transversus abdominis, which is often missed in traditional ab exercises, states LA-based Pilates trainer Michelle Dozois, who developed this Pilates workout. For optimal outcomes, flatten your belly by pulling your navel toward your spinal column during each rep. Do a Pilates workout three times a week, each day.
Lie on your back with your upper hands and bent at 90 degrees – thighs directly up and calves parallel to the floor. Rest your hands at your sides, palms down. Keep your abs contracted and push your lower back towards the flooring.
Inhale and lower your left leg for a count of 2 (” down, down”), moving just from your hip and dipping your toes towards the flooring (without letting them really touch it). Exhale and raise your leg back to the beginning position for a count of 2 (” up, up”). Repeat with your best leg and continue rotating until you’ve done 12 representatives with each leg.
Lie on your back with your legs extended along the flooring. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling, with toes pointed and hands at your sides, palms down. Hold for 10 to 1 Minute. (If this position is uneasy, you can flex your best leg and place your right foot flat on the flooring.) Make a small circle on the ceiling with your left toes, turning your leg from your hip. Inhale as you begin the circle and breathe out as you end up. Keep your body as still as possible – no rocking – by tightening your abs. Do 6 circles, then reverse direction for 6 more. Repeat with your other leg.
Start as in the Toe Dip but with your hands behind your head, elbows out to the sides. Snuggle to raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor.
As you breathe in, rotate your torso to the right, bringing your right knee and left shoulder towards each other and extending your left leg toward the ceiling in a diagonal line from your hips. As you breathe out, rotate to the left, bringing your left knee towards your right shoulder and extending your best leg. That’s one rep. Do 6 reps.
Lie on your left side with your legs directly and together so your body forms one long line. Prop yourself up on your left elbow and forearm, raising your ribs off the flooring and your head towards the ceiling. Position your right-hand man lightly on the floor in front of you for balance. (If this position is uncomfortable, extend your left arm on the floor and rest your head on your arm.) Raise your right leg to hip level and bend your foot so your toes are pointing forward.
Exhale as you kick, swinging your ideal leg forward as far as easily possible and pulsing for 2 counts (” kick, kick”). Inhale, point your toes, and swing your leg back past your left leg. That’s one rep. Do 6 reps without reducing your leg. Then change sides and repeat.
Back Extension with Rotation
Lie on your stomach with your forehead on your hands, palms on the floor. Separate your feet to hip width. Pull abs in.
Raise your head, shoulders, and chest off the flooring. Turn your upper body to the right and back to the center, then lower. Repeat to the left side and continue alternating till you’ve done 6 rotations to each side.
Rest on your left hip with your left leg bent in front of you and your left hand below your shoulder. Place your right foot flat on the floor just in front of your left foot so your right knee indicate the ceiling. Rest your right arm on your right knee.
Pull your abdominal in, press into your left hand, and raise your hips off the flooring. As you come up onto your left knee, straighten your right leg and raise your right arm over your head so you form a line from your ideal fingers to your ideal toes. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Lower and repeat on the other side.