We’ve been told since recess on the playground that physical exercise is important to improve our health. Not only does exercise make us healthier, but it also makes us stronger and boosts our self-esteem. It is rare to see people who exercise regularly who are depressed or unhealthy. Exercise comes in several forms – team sports, yoga, weight lifting – but regardless of your age and sex, and no matter what your level of health is, aerobics are going to be good for you as you pursue a healthy lifestyle.
What Are Aerobics
Aerobic exercise – also called cardio – is exercise that requires the heart to pump oxygenated blood to the working muscles. Aerobic exercise can be low to high intensity, is typically performed over a relatively long period of time, and stimulates the heart rate and breathing rate to increase in a way that can be sustained for the exercise session. Among the different varieties of aerobic exercises are cardio machines, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes, dancing, cross country skiing, and kickboxing.
In this era of bikini bodies and six-pack-abs, many people are hyper-focused on working on and creating a flatter abdomen. Yes, this is an important part of the body in terms of your physical appearance, but the primary purpose of the muscles in your abdominal section is to stabilize your torso to maintain good posture and balance. The abdominal section is not just your tummy area; it is a whole range of muscles that help you move and stretch in every area of your daily routine. What we think of as “abs” are actually 4 different muscles:
- External Obliques
The outer layer of the abs on your sides; these run diagonally downward.
- Internal Obliques
Just underneath the external obliques, these run diagonally up your sides.
- Rectus Abdominis
Two paired sheets of muscle from the ribs to the pelvis that flex you forward.
- Transversus Abdominis
The deepest ab muscle, which wraps around the waist to support the spine.
While these muscles are working all day to support us, there are a few aerobic exercises for abs to consider if you want to burn the fat the covers them and give them a little definition.
- Lie on your back with your hands behind your ears.
- Lift your legs and bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle.
- Move your legs in a bicycle motion. When the left knee is closer to your chest, lift your shoulders and reach your right elbow to your left knee.
- Alternate this motion with the right leg and left elbow.
- Try the exercise for 1 -2 minutes.
- Rest for 30 seconds and repeat again for 1 or 2 sets.
Lifting your head and shoulder blades during bicycle crunches engages your rectus abdominis.
- Come into a straight-arm plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders.
- Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your ankles.
- Lift your left foot and drive your left knee up into the center of your body.
- Quickly switch legs, driving right knee up into the center of your body.
- Try to keep your hips level and your shoulders directly above your wrists.
- Do as many as possible for 30 seconds.
This exercise strengthens your entire core – all four muscle groups.
- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Bend both knees, swing arms back, and drive off ground as high as possible.
- Land softly and immediately bend your knees, place hands on the floor in front of you, and jump your feet all the way back so you end up in a plank position.
- Lower your chest to perform a pushup.
- Jump both feet back in and stand.
- Immediately jump up to repeat.
- Continue to do as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
Burpees engage your rectus abdominis and obliques.
These exercises are simple and can be done anywhere – even at home without much restriction. To effectively perform aerobic exercises for abs, you must remember what the abdominal section is and why it is important. Always remember the movements are coming from your abdomen. It is all too easy to move your arms and legs and think that you are working your abdomen.
It is the aerobic nature of these exercises that will burn the abdominal fat; no abdominal exercises will get rid of extra fat in the midsection, as they are designed for toning, not fat burning. Aerobic activity – combined with abdominal exercises – is the best approach for reducing your waistline and creating a flatter, more defined abdominal section.