Take a Little Off The Middle

Trim your waist and boost your health with five simple moves

Woman doing a plank

Gaining weight around the waist is a part of getting older for most of us. But it’s important to keep your waist size within a healthy range. Too much belly fat can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Being active is one of the best ways to avoid extra weight that can end up around your belly. If you want to target that area in particular, simple exercises can help. Fortunately, you don’t have to hit the floor and do endless crunches.

“The crunch is so boring and old-school,” says Liz Josefsberg, a weight loss expert and certified personal trainer. “Doing crunches only hits a small section of what is considered the core. I have my clients do functional exercises that combine cardio with a midsection blast. That way, they strengthen the entire core.” Doing so not only trims your waist but also improves your balance, stability and overall strength, Josefsberg says.

The workout circuit that follows will help burn abdominal fat and build strength. Start with a 5-minute walk to warm up. Do each move for at least 30 seconds if you can. Rest for 30 seconds between each move. Do the circuit for at least 15 minutes. As these moves become easier, mix in other moves or cardio exercises, such as cycling, jogging and jumping rope.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly raise one knee so it’s at a 90-degree angle to your hip, and hold it. Then lower and repeat with your other leg. Keep switching knees until you’re at a light jog where one leg is returning to the floor as the other leg is beginning to rise. Your arms should be at 90-degree angles and skimming your sides as you jog.


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Get into a push-up position with arms extended. Make sure your body is in a straight line and your butt isn’t up in the air. Engage your belly by pulling it up and sucking it in to meet your spine. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

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Start in a push-up position, with your arms extended and your body in a straight line from head to ankles. Raise your right knee toward your chest, pause, then return to the starting position while bringing your left knee up toward your chest.


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Stand with your arms by your sides and your feet together. Jump and extend your arms and legs so your body forms an X. Jump back to the starting position and keep repeating.


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Start in a push-up position. Rotate to the right, balancing on your left arm, reaching your right arm toward the ceiling, and stacking your right leg over your left leg. Hold the move, keeping abs tight and back straight. Rotate to the left to work opposite side. Do each side 5 times.


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Talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.