ABCs to Tight Abs

You can perform this isometric exercise while lying in bed, sitting at your desk, standing at the sink—and even as you surf the web!

Assess your posture. Pretend you have a string at the top of head pulling you up. Feel the space between your vertebrae in your spine.

Place your hands on your lower belly and cough to feel your transverse abdominal muscles

Breathe with a soft ribcage. Rather than expand your ribcage in and out in an exaggerated manner– keep your ribs soft and allow the breath to move through your abdominals (up and down). Continue to breathe as you

Contract the “coughing” muscles (transverse abs) deep in your lower belly.

Try to keep lengthening your spine, pulling in your lower ab muscles, and breathing as you continue to read. Properly and frequently performed, this exercise can train your lower abs to naturally engage throughout all your activities—which will eventually lead to flatter, stronger belly and healthier back.

 

Swish and Shrug

Feel fresh, no stress!

Equipment: mouthwash

Position: Standing in front of the mirror; ready, set, swish . . .

Simple exercise: Shrug your shoulders (up and down), move your shoulder blades (forward and back), rotate your shoulders (in each direction).

Benefits: Loosens neck and shoulder muscles.

Have fun, get creative, and share your ideas . . .

Animal Intelligence

Aside

Have you ever noticed how animals keep fit? My cat Max is in great shape. When he gets up from a nap, he automatically stretches. When he needs to get his ya-yas out, he chases dust bunnies. And he’s certainly strong enough to pounce up his cat tree. He gives his body what it needs, when it needs it. No grueling gym workouts necessary . . .

Let Go and Get Long

Aside

Back in the day when I taught “go for the burn” aerobics, some students would leave class before the final stretch. Later I’d ask why they had left and they’d say, “well, I mainly want to burn calories” or “stretching is boring . . .”

Picture ballet dancers and their beautiful bodies. Those long, lean muscles are achieved through both lengthening and strengthening exercises. Dancers spend hours stretching.

One of the great things about stretching is that you can truly do it while you’re doing other things, like watching TV or reading.

Have a seat on the floor. Sit with your legs extended in front of you and lean forward over your legs. Your muscles become more flexible as they warm up. Take time to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, breathing deep and easy. Don’t force the stretch. Just let go and get long.

Floss Out the Kinks

Multi-tasking at its best!

These traditional neck rolls feel so good, especially if you tend to feel tension in your neck and shoulders, and can be done any time, anywhere…even while completing your morning/evening routine.

Equipment: floss

Position: Standing in front of mirror, ready, set, floss!

Simple exercise: While flossing (or not), lean your head to your right shoulder and feel a stretch along the left side of your neck, drop your chin forward making a half circle to the left side — pause — lean your head to your left and feel a stretch along the right side of your neck. Repeat by dropping your head back through center from side to side as needed.

Benefits: Stretches and releases neck muscles.

Have fun, get creative, and share your ideas . . .