Like most people, we at Daily Vanity also go on a weight loss journey every now and then. And oh, boy — we can assure you that you are not alone in struggling to shed off a few extra kilos.
In particular, we can all agree that the extra bit of belly fat is the most frustrating part of weight loss. And especially in the current climate, commitment to a low-calorie diet and hardcore workout routine is almost impossible.
However, according to Japanese yoga expert and physiotherapist Naota Nakamura, that hurdle can be overcome with just three simple steps you can follow every day.
He calls it ab stretching.
The science behind ab stretching
According to Naota’s bestselling book Abdominal Muscle Revolution, the secret to a tight abdomen is to exercise it by “stretching”. He claims that through this exercise, you will not only lose weight but also improve your posture and mind-body wellness.
While sit-ups do work the abdominal muscles, they are not the best way to strengthen the core as it puts extra pressure on the heart and other internal organs.
Additionally, if you’re guilty of slouching or hunching your back, your lower belly is more prone to bulging as your fallen ribs will push the internal organs outwards because of the limited space in the stomach.
Instead, you need to stretch your abdomen by putting your hand on your waist and leaning the upper body back. This lifts the ribs up and stretches the belly where fat is accumulated.
Naturally, your internal organs will return to their original positions because of the expanded space and ultimately reduce that belly protrusion.
How to stretch your abs
In just three simple steps, you can stretch those abs correctly and work towards that flat stomach. However, there are two important points to keep in mind throughout the exercise. First, always stabilise your hips before stretching. Second, remember the proper stretching form when you lean back.
1. Raise your toes
With your feet standing parallel to each other shoulder-width apart, bend your toes and lift them off the ground. This ensures that you find your centre of gravity and your posture is in the right position.
2. Cross your hands behind your head
With your thumbs down, place your hands behind your head and stretch your arms upwards to lift the back of your head up. Take a deep breath in and exhale. Ensure that you are supporting your head with your hands so that you do not strain your neck.
3. Lean your upper body back
While taking another breath in, lean your upper body back. Then, return to the original posture as you exhale. Do this at least twice.
After you’re done with this exercise, you have to keep your stomach stretched and avoid slouching for at least five minutes.
While Naoto recommends doing this movement at least five times a day, we think that as long as you work at it consistently, you will attain the results you want to see in no time.