Posted by: Shorty | 2009-05-07


Please could you tell me what i can do to tighten up my flabby tummy muscles, I do sit ups, but that hurts my back, i had a back op'  12 yrs ago. please help. thank you

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Our expert says:
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The most important thing about solving this particular one is to recognize the myth of spot reduction. That is, there is a perception that you can target specific areas for fat loss by doing very specific exercise. Unfortunately, a million sit-ups a day is not the sole solution. In your case, with a back problem and pain doing them, this is more true than ever. So I guess the bad news is that you can’t do situps, but the good news is that it doesn’t matter because they don’t work anyway!

Instead, your aim should be to increase metabolic rate – that’s how you burn fat. You do through regular cardiovascular exercise, which includes cycling, aerobics, taebo, spinning, walking or jogging.
You should then combine this with some weight training. Weight training, which includes sit-ups, is helpful because it increases muscle mass (which has the long-term effect of raising metabolic rate) and because it literally helps create more muscle. In your case, with a back problem, I’d say try crunches, and consider doing Pilates, just because it’ll help your back pain and develop some muscle around the core. More muscle means a more toned appearance. Just doing sit-ups is a start, but you can raise the impact by doing a variety of exercises that target different abdominal muscles. I’d suggest speaking to a trainer at the gym to discover these.

Finally, remember that diet is the great “enabler”. If exercise is perfect, but diet poor, then you undermine your progress. So cover that base, perhaps by seeing a dietician, and get cover all three bases.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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