Posted by: pete | 2007/12/17

ab slide

Hi Doc,
I'm on prescibed tripelene and seem to be putting on quite a bit of weight around the tummy area, or my trousers have shrunk,
Started to do ab slides, which is going down on your knees and then slide this little wheel thing out in front of you as far as you can go and back. Works your tummy quite a lot. Started by doing only 5 then every night an extra five. Uo to 125 now. Would like your opinion of this excersize, and what would be the correct way to do it. I'm 65 years old.

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Our expert says:
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Hi Pete

It would help a little bit, but unfortunately, the principle behind this kind of exercise is flawed, in as far as that you cannot spot reduce. The mistake people make is that they try to target the muscle group, often at the expense of doing the whole body exercise that is actually more effective. That's not to say that focus on a muscle group or area is bad, because you need it, but it's better to do whole body exercise. The exercise is cardio training - like running, walking, cycling, swimming, taebo, aerobics etc. Anything that is cardiovascular gets the heart pumping and energy burning is most effective. It is just a question of how you use these cardio sessions. I would suggest at least 4 days a week of cardio training, each session lasting about 30 to 45 minutes, AT LEAST. You have to build up this duration and then keep at it consistently in order to see change. Now that it is a holiday season, perhaps it's the ideal time to get some walking in? That would seem a good exercise for you, if you are not at the gym? Otherwise, swimming, if you have access, would be excellent.

The specific exercises for the area in question have a relatively minor role, other than that they are responsible for developing the muscle in the area, which creates the appearance of being toned. That's obviously what you want, but you have to realise that you can't do the toning and specific work first and neglect the cardio - it has to work the other way around, cardio first, toning second. So focus on cardio, then on toning.

Diet is also very crucial, and if it's not 100% it will undermine any exercise benefits. So the best thing is to see a dietician or follow a very good diet plan. Just remember that low kilojoule is not necessarily better - too low causes problems as well, because it causes the body's metabolic rate to drop and that affects your ability to lose weight in the future. So don't try to starve yourself or go overboard, rather eat sensibly, cut out as much fat as you can, and listen to your body.

Good luck

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