Flat Abs, Exercises That Work!

So you want six-pack abs?  Getting the flat abs you want takes work but as you age, it takes hard work!  If you want to get sleek strong abs you have to do just one thing - train them smarter!  Doing 500 crunches a night will get you nowhere.  Nor will starving yourself or wasting money on useless ab gadgets.  The key to getting your abs in the best shape is to make sure you work them properly in every workout. One of the best ways to think of ab exercises is in the order of stability, movement, and power.  Your ab muscles include more than your rectus abdominus; they include your transverse abdominus, internal and external obliques, and your erector spinae muscles to name a few.  That's why doing basic crunches on the floor won't get you the results you want.  You have to train your body (abs included) using a variety of angles.  You also have to train smarter so you don't hurt yourself.

One of my favorite exercises for the abs is the bridge or what I call the Jane Fonda pelvic lift. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet straight. Inhale first and as you exhale pull your navel to spine, squeeze your pelvic floor, and squeeze your tush - multi-tasking at its best! During the exhale phase lift your hips off the ground, hold and slowly lower them down to the ground. Perform 1-3 sets for to 12-20 reps.

Aging doesn't have to mean your destined for flabby, out of shape abs.  In my next post, I'll share more of my favorite ab exercises to whittle that waistline and keep you injury free!

3 Reasons Why You Need to Work Your Heart

So what's all the fuss about cardiovascular exercise? Sure it can help you lose those unwanted pounds but have you ever thought of the real heart benefits? As we age, our arteries become less pliable and can be a contributing factor for high blood pressure. One of the best ways to deliver oxygenated blood to our muscles is through brief, intense cardiovascular exercise.

Interval or high level intensity training are gaining popularity amongst the "average Joe's and Jane's" of the world. This training causes the heart to work extra hard for a specified time and then recover briefly. This bout of higher intensity exercise is just what you need to take your workouts from a walk in the park workout to a to heart intense workout. So the next time you need a reason to work your butt and heart out just remember these 3 things:

1. Your body needs a "jolt," or "kick-in-the-pants" every now and then. If you don't push yourself harder, you won't reap the benefits your heart needs to get healthier.

2. If you're struggling with a weight-loss plateau, it's often the result of your body adjusting to the same workouts. If you've been walking on the treadmill at the same pace and incline (forever), you're not working hard enough.

3. You have to experience the EPOC! I know that may sound a little scary but it's exactly what your heart needs. Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption can do wonders for your heart and overall fitness level. If you're not doing it, you're missing out on some major heart benefits. Dr. Len Kravitz co-authored an article on EPOC which is a must read.

Be sure to read my next post on practical workouts that are calorie torching and heart healthy. Next time you start that exercise regimen, be sure you work your heart HARD!