I 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;