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Aerobic activity and core exercises lead to a smaller core.
Core muscle strength is crucial for balance and stability. Movements such as bending, twisting and reaching require strong core muscles for execution. The core refers to more than just your abdominal muscles. While ab muscles are included, the core also encompasses the back and side muscles of your trunk from the shoulders to your glutes. Core exercises, such as crunches, strengthen the muscles, but they don't get rid of fat. Instead, to make your core smaller, you need to combine cardiovascular exercise, core sculpting and healthy eating.
Perform 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. For weight loss, the Centers for Disease Control recommends the full 300 minutes. Or, if you can't spare that much time, you can exercise 75 to 150 minutes a week at a vigorous intensity. Aerobic exercise burns body fat, including the area around the core. Exercises that involve the entire body, such as kickboxing, swimming and rowing burn fat, as well as strengthen core muscles, giving you a double-duty workout.
Do plank exercises to target the entire core. Lie face down on a mat and pull your elbows under your shoulders with your forearms on the mat. With your legs extended back, turn your feet under so your toes are on the mat. Tighten your ab muscles and lift your hips off the floor until your body from your shoulders to your ankles form a straight line. Hold for 15 seconds to a minute. If a full plank is too challenging, modify the move by putting your knees on the floor. If you'd like more challenge, lift one foot and the opposite arm off the floor, switching sides halfway through.
Do 15 to 20 bicycle exercises to sculpt the abs. The American Council on Exercise ranks the bicycle as the most effective for the rectus abdominus and obliques. Lie on your back on a mat with your hands supporting your head and your knees up. Engage your abdominal by pulling the belly button toward the mat to support the back. Pedal your legs by pulling one knee in while extending the other leg out. Twist your upper body, reaching your elbow toward the opposite pulled in knee.
Perform side crunches to target the side obliques. Lie on your side on a mat with your legs extended. Wrap the arm on the floor across your chest and put the other arm behind your head, resting on the back of your head, but not pulling. Using your side muscles, lift your head and shoulders off the mat and then lower back down. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions and then switch sides. To modify the exercise, you can complete the exercise with your knees bent. Increase the challenge, by adding a single or double-leg lift to the crunch.
Complete dumbbell bench presses to strengthen core muscles of the chest. Lie on your back on an exercise bench with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended up toward the ceiling. Lower the dumbbells to shoulder level letting your elbows drop below the bench. Check that the weights stay by the shoulder, not near your neck. Complete the exercise by pressing the weights back up. For more core engagement, perform this exercise on a stability ball.
Perform bent over rows to target your upper back core muscles. Place one hand and the same-sided knee on the on the exercise bench for support. In the other hand, hold a dumbbell, letting it hang toward the floor. Lift the dumbbell up toward the arm pit. Focus on pulling your shoulder blade back, not just bending at the elbow. Lower the weight down, selecting one that tires you out by the 12th repetition, before switching sides.
Use squats to build glute muscles. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, feet facing forward and your shoulders pulled back and down without arching the back. Bend your knees and shift your hips back as if you're going to sit down. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor then return to a stand. If you have knee or back issues, don't squat as far. Start with bodyweight squats, adding additional weights as you progress.
Perform the superman exercise to strengthen back muscles. Lie face down on the floor with your legs back and arms extended overhead. Keep your eyes looking at the floor for proper neck and spine alignment. Simultaneously lift your legs, arms and shoulders off the floor. Focus on extending the arms and legs out and lengthening the spine. If you have back strain, pull your arms in so your hands are by your shoulders. Or do the exercise by lifting one leg and the opposite arm at a time. Hold for two to four breaths then lower down. Repeat for two to three sets.
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Add a healthy diet of fresh, whole foods to fuel your exercise and help reduce the size of your core.
Exercise is healthy, but it's not without risks. Contact your doctor before starting an exercise and diet routine.