Written by Dr Mickey Mehta
The battle of the bulge has always been very challenging for most women. The body fat ratio for them is a little too high and it shows around their waist and stomach. Especially post-pregnancy women tend to put on weight around their stomach and lose a lot of muscle tone. If you have been struggling to get to your desired kind of abs, then have a workout routine that you can bank on.
I would recommend yoga, swimming, walking, cycling, simple home routines and functional drills that are tried and tested and give good results. The idea is to be fuss-free and find something that flows seamlessly with your daily routine.
Double Pawanmuktasana is one of the best yoga asanas to reduce belly fat.
How to perform:
1) Lie down on your back and keep your legs straight.
2) Slowly inhale and raise your legs straight up to 45 degrees.
3) Now exhale and bend your legs at the knees up towards the chest until your thigh touches the stomach. Hug your knees and lock your fingers.
4) Gently lift your head up and try touching the tip of the nose to the knees. Hold this posture for 30 seconds and you can extend it till 1 minute as per your capacity.
(People who have severe pain, injury, or stiffness in the neck should avoid lifting the head up)
5) Inhale, bring the head down and straighten the legs and bring it on the ground and relax.
Pavanamuktasana cures acidity, indigestion and constipation. It is an excellent practice to strengthen abdominal organs. It relieves back pain. Those who have problems with passing gas, acidity, arthritis, and suffer from heart problems get good relief by doing this asana.
Sitting in Vajrasana and then touching your forehead on the ground while breathing out and doing Maha Bandha, too, is great. People who are a little more flexible and agile can try Halasana (plough pose), which is exceptionally good for toning the stomach and bringing down the volume of your belly and love handles.
Lying down on your back, exercises like cycling with a single leg and double leg are very good. Follow this up with leg raises. Raising the leg at 90 degrees works in the upper abdomen, raising it at 45 degrees works in the mid-abdomen and at 30 degrees it works in the lower abdomen. Try bending forward and touching the toes, whether standing or sitting.
Something great for improving your metabolic rate, which brings down your overall body-fat ratio, would be kicking. If somebody were to have exposure to kick-boxing, squatting and kicking are exceptionally good, when it comes to increasing your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Squatting, of course, challenges the lower extremities and increases BMR but squatting combined with kicking is also very important.
Lying down on your back with hands behind the back, elbow to knee, right to left, and left to right very gradually also works.
Holding on to some bar and doing knee raises can help. This can be done at advanced levels when you develop strength.
Working on your stomach, whether it is upper, lower or whole cylinder, certainly helps you have more courage because we work on the Manipura chakra as well, breathing out our fears, phobia, insecurities and anxieties. And while we strengthen our stomach, we strengthen our courage, guts, core and confidence.
USE YOUR HOME PROPS
One can use several props available at home or furniture for exercises. The following are a few examples:
1) Take the support of the back of the chair and squat down, or simply sit straight on the chair and twist, bend or do forward bends.
2) Bhujangasana or the Cobra pose can be done with chair support: Stand behind the chair, holding its back rest. Inhale and stretch upward. This helps in good lungs and chest expansion, increases breathing capacity and improves spine flexibility.
3) Leg extended sideward bend with a chair: Sit on the chair with left leg folded. Move the right leg outside towards the sides. Inhale, raise both the hands and bend towards the right hand side, try to touch your right ankle with the right hand, the left hand facing upwards. Then do it on the other side. This reduces fat from the waist area. Helps in strengthening hamstrings and calf muscles.
4) Towel exercises: Towels are long, so we can use them to pull and strengthen our biceps. We can push them down, use them against a hook and use them for triceps. We can also use them for chest expansion and stretching and opening shoulders.
5) Water bottles can be used as weights and for strength training exercises like squats and lunges.
6) Take a pillow, lie down on your back, squeeze it between your knees and do hip raises or crunches.
7) Keep it below the back for a good back stretch.
8) Keep it below the belly button and simply rest. It will be very helpful to reduce belly fat.
BEST TIME FOR WORKOUTS
Morning workouts are better as they help not just reduce belly fat, but also in improving moods and nutritional satiety. And if one can find time in the evening, then it would help them increase upper body muscular strength and endurance.
Bodily processes are not uniform throughout the day, as some hormones go up and down, so one needs to be active the whole day.
To achieve your goal, do your exercises twice a day on an empty stomach.
Follow a routine or Dincharya as per Ayurveda. In the morning, have herbal tea with organic jaggery and cinnamon for better immunity along with reducing belly fat. Eat a lot of raw fruits in the morning; alkaline fruits such as musk melon, honeydew melon and pomegranate are recommended. Avoid preserved, flavoured, artificial, coloured or processed foods. Finish your dinner by 6.30 pm.
Meditate to relax and rejuvenate.
(Dr Mehta has trained Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe candidates and the Maharashtra Police. A best-selling author, he has been appointed FIT India Movement Champion by the Sports Authority of India).