Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Exercises for Overindulging During the Holidays

Not only are we always too hard on ourselves about our physical appearance, so we can fit in or fit into someone else's idea of ideal, but we also have these little secrets that we pick on very harshly. Others (family, friends, coworker, significant other) couldn't even tell we're worried about these little things: a pimple, little dimples on our thighs, a little belly fat. I consider all these little things love leverage--cause they come in handy when spending some alone time with the significant other! ;o)

So I vote we keep the little things at bay instead of letting them bug our brains during this holiday season. Let's feel a little more guilt free. If you're going to indulge yourself, say take a nibble of something extra rich or a second helping of a favorite dish, then by all means indulge a little and don't look back! Just like Nigella Lawson says, it's useless to try something absolutely spectacular tasting to make ourselves feel better, only to regret it 2 minutes later!

The Mayo Clinic has an excellent article about belly fat and features some FANTASTIC quick and easy to learn exercises to help trim those areas that tend to be a wee bit looser than they should:

Tone your tummy. While you can't "spot-burn" belly fat, you can firm up your abdominal muscles and get a flatter belly. Traditional sit-ups aren't the most effective way to firm your tummy, however. Instead, use these exercises to target both deeper and lower abdominal muscles:

  • Deeper abdominal muscles. Target deeper abdominal muscles by doing "abdominal hollowing" or "drawing in the bellybutton." First, get down on all fours. Let your tummy hang down as you take a deep breath. Let your breath out, and at the end of your exhalation, gently draw your bellybutton inward and upward toward your spine. You should feel a slight tightening around your waist — think of it as trying to squeeze through a partially closed door. Hold for 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Work up to 10 repetitions. During each effort, your spine position shouldn't change and you should breathe freely. Eventually, you'll be able to do this exercise standing up. It's so subtle, no one should be able to tell you're doing it.
  • Lower abdominal muscles. Tone your lower abdomen by doing pelvic tilts and pelvic lifts. To do a pelvic tilt, lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.

    For pelvic lifts, lie on your back with your knees bent up toward your chest and your arms relaxed by your sides. Tighten your lower abdomen and lift your buttocks up off the floor, with your knees aimed toward the ceiling. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.

These are easy and aren't as complicated as nuclear fusion or brain surgery. Give them a try and see which one becomes your favorite little trick. How about that? A little secret we can enjoy instead of suffer over!

So whatever you indulge in--or don't indulge in--be safe, healthy, and happy this holiday season!
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