How to trim my floppy midriff after weight loss?

Jane mugshot for JQAI am a 65-​year-​old man who has lost 2st in 10 months by chan­ging my diet and walk­ing every day. My beer gut has vir­tu­ally gone but I have a lot of loose skin there now. How can I tone up my stom­ach to look more present­able in swim­ming trunks?

Congratulations on your weight loss: it sounds as though you have made a very suc­cess­ful life­style change. Having done the hard­est part, you have many options to develop your fit­ness and give you altern­at­ives to the pub for social­ising and fun.

Tonng up your stom­ach does not have to involve get­ting down on the ground and doing end­less sit-​ups, ab curls or crunches. Our stom­ach muscles are designed to work hard in many exer­cise or activ­ity situ­ations, to give pos­tural sup­port, keep the body stable when legs and arms are mov­ing, and help pro­tect our backs. Especially for older people, ab curls done lying down can be the wrong way to tone up abdom­in­als, whereas all the sug­ges­tions below should be both safe and effect­ive.

Consider step­ping up the intens­ity of your daily walk routine, by adding in some uphill walks, power walk­ing or even Nordic pole walk­ing in a park or local coun­tryside. There’s lots of tips on the inter­net about basic power-​walking and Nordic walk­ing tech­niques, such as ABC of Nordic Walking. These tech­niques will force you to use your “core” muscles far more than ordin­ary walk­ing, build­ing stom­ach muscle to replace the flab.

For the next level in fit­ness train­ing, sign on at the local leis­ure centre to use the gym: you will be shown how to work the machines, and a weight-​training pro­gramme three times a week will help you build muscle all over your body. Just make sure the instructor who sets your pro­gramme is qual­i­fied to train older adults.

Your gym pro­gramme should have plenty of vari­ety, and remem­ber, few or no ab curls. Instead, machines such as the rower and cross-​trainer are help­ful, as long as you work with good pos­ture. Any exer­cises that strengthen your back will also help to pull your abdom­in­als into shape.

Check out local exer­cise classes for seni­ors, look­ing for some­thing such as “car­dio kick” or “car­dio box­ing” — another clever route to abdom­inal con­di­tion­ing without the crunches. A seni­ors’ cir­cuit class, com­bin­ing weights, core (abs and back) work and car­dio is also a great workout.

Bear in mind that if you do some weight train­ing work to build up your shoulders, arms and chest, it will have the effect of visu­ally “slim­ming down” your abs and waist – a bit of a cheat but why not?!

And if you’re going to hang out in swim­ming trunks, you might as well get in the water for some 30-​minute swim ses­sions: fant­astic all-​round body con­di­tion­ing.

You have already proved you can main­tain a long-​term dis­cip­lined approach to your health and fit­ness. Toning up your slimmed-​down stom­ach will not hap­pen overnight, but you should expect to see and feel good res­ults within six months. &HBSP;

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