A pot belly — neither fashion bonus nor health bonanza — can be blamed on age, genetics, diet and lifestyle. Calendars and genes can’t be changed, but a simple belly-toning “to-do list” can help beat back the overhang, rescue wardrobes and impress your doctor. According to exercise specialists at the Mayo Clinic, a pot belly has two parts: love handles — the fat under your skin — and internal fat surrounding your organs. This list of exercises attacks both deposits.
The belly lift, also called abdominal hollowing, strengthens stomach muscles and burns fat. Get down on all fours and relax the belly muscles while inhaling deeply. Then exhale and contract stomach muscles strongly to draw the belly button upward. Hold firmly for 10 seconds, then relax for 10 seconds. The belly-lift exercise consists of 10 of these cycles.
Pelvic tilts tone the lower abdominal muscles to flatten a pot belly. Lie with your back against the floor — the supine exercise position — with knees bent upward Contract the abdominal muscles to press the small of the back against the floor — slightly up-tilting the hips — and hold for up to 10 seconds. The pelvic tilt exercise begins with five repetitions, progressing to an eventual goal of 10 to 20.
Pelvic lifts also attack pot belly bulges. Lay supine, bend your knees toward the chest and contract the abdominal muscles to pull the buttocks off the floor and the knees toward the ceiling. Hold for up to 10 seconds and repeat the cycle five times. The eventual goal for pelvic lifts is 10 to 20 repetitions of the lift cycle.
Exercise scientists at Skidmore College in New York say an exercise list should also include a commonsense arm exercise: pushing away from the table a little sooner at every sitting. According to Christian Finn, a British exercise scientist and popular health writer, a list of pot belly busting exercises must also include exercising serious nutritional and dietary controls.
Mayo Clinic exercise specialists say pot bellies and beer bellies may be more typical of post-menopausal women or aging men, respectively. But the generalities in a pot belly exercise list for each gender can be applied successfully to both.
About this Author
Walt Pickut began writing in 1971 publishing peer-reviewed medical research and clinical studies. Pickut holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and communication, a master’s in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickenson University, and graduate work in mass communications at SUNY-Amherst. He is an adjunct professor of presentational speaking for Houghton College in New York. Pickut holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology.