As summer approaches, you may see plenty of gym goers sweating it out to tone up their torsos.
But getting a flatter, toned stomach is not all about the crunches! Here are the top three holistic tips for toning up your abs and keeping them that way.
1. Improve your posture
You will be surprised how a structurally efficient posture will help tone up your stomach.
In our work-dominated culture, we tend to remain in a seated position for long periods of time.
This leads the muscles at the front of the body to become tight, causing the spine to curve forward. Consequently, the pelvis pops forward and this change in position lengthens and weakens the lower abdominals, giving the appearance of a pot belly.
Improving your posture extends the mid back, which leads to a neutral spine and allows the pelvis to re-position so that the core muscles can activate better. Once the core muscles start activating, the lower abdominals will appear flatter and toned.
2. Train your abs in a functional manner
It is unlikely you would have seen our ancestors doing any abdominal crunches when there objective was survival and hunting!
They would have performed big movements such as throwing, twisting and running.
These types of movement work your abdominals in a functional manner, which is a strong carry over to what we do in everyday life.
Change your abdominal training routine to movements that encourage the body to move in a transverse plane of motion, which simply means rotation through your upper body. This is anything that involves chopping and twisting through your upper body.
Such movements run less of a risk to your body than doing 100 crunches lying down.
Examples include body weight squats and the tranverse hold.
3. Reduce your stress levels
Any stress trigger activates the sympathetic branch of the body’s autonomic nervous system, which perceives stress as a life-threatening situation. Therefore, it sends blood to muscles pushing the body into “fight” or “flight” mode.
Any stressful encounter in life, whether it is emotional or physical, is identified the same way and the body secretes stress hormones known as Adrenaline and Cortisol.
The role of Cortisol is break down muscle, tissue and bone, but we need muscle to burn fat. Therefore, this can have impact on decreasing your metabolism in the long run. It can also result in altering your blood sugar levels which then increases insulin levels, causing higher amount of body fat storage, particularly around our middle.
Give your body an opportunity, to relax, being around nature, water and the beach is a perfect place to balance you out and allow calmness. Learn to slow down, take time out at lunchtime to eat your food slowly outside with nature.
Apply some Self Myofasica release to ease those tense muscles.
All these simple tips will help not only improve sleep, decrease stress and reduce the risk of injury, but the most controversial part is the fact that it can help improve muscle toning around your mid-section.