STOMACH EXERCISES: TO BURN THAT BEER BELLY Central obesity has been associated with a myriad number of conditions, some more unimaginable than others, and even till date, there are a number of diseases which have been associated with having central obesity. Now, with all this hue and cry about having pendulous abs, the first part of their body that people want to tone down is their stomach. The hard part of this process is simple enough: the stomach is too complex. The abdomen and the tissue beneath the stomach muscles are the largest store of the body’s subcutaneous fat. On the corollary, what this implies is that when people want to drop the inches from the stomach, they need to work hard, and they need to work long as these are one of the least labile stores of fat in the body. Stomach toning exercises are those specific set of exercises which mainly work the muscles of the abdomen, and additionally that of the back and partly also the chest muscles. It goes without saying that almost all workout regimens include a few sets of stomach crunches in the routine. And it is also a common practice that these exercises are done everyday without an exception, unlike workouts for the other parts of the body. The reason for this exception is an extension of the statement earlier: stomach fat takes time and effort to burn. The muscular system of the abdomen consists of two very large and powerful sets of muscles known as the rectus abdominis, one of the most powerful muscles in the body itself, along with the oblique muscles of the stomach wall. Besides acting as a containment for the abdominal organs whenever there are acts which involve the spiking of the intra-abdominal pressure, the oblique muscles help in the lateral rotation of the spinal cord and subsequently of the torso as a whole. But the recti are the muscles which are the real Dodge cars of the abdomen. These stomach muscles are extra bulky and hence they are divided into segments, and these are the ones which when manipulated well give the much-hyped “six pack” abdomen. Stomach toning regimens look to involve the recti muscles to the most extent as possible, as these are the biggest muscles and therefore helping in drawing the most of the fat reserve in the tissue in the abdomen. There are a number of exercises which help in rapping up the abs, but by far the most effective and time tested ones are the stomach crunches. These are a simple set of stomach exercises which when done correctly and regularly help in losing abdominal fat. Lying down flat, with both the palms interlocked and behind the head, one should breathe out when using the abdomen to pull oneself up without using leverage from the elbows or back and bend in as much as possible and extend back to the normal position when breathing in. Doing these stomach exercises right has many advantages. If the breathing is done right, it saves the person from struggling to overcome the innate intra-abdominal pressure which occurs when people breathe in as most people tend to do when they crunch and also help in delivering the inhaled oxygen to all parts of the body equally and help in performing the exercise properly.