5 surprising ways to flatten your stomach

Want a flat stomach? It's not all crunches and sit-ups...

By Samantha McMeekin
I'm not one to use the word hate often, but for this type of exercise I'm willing to make an exception.
I hate crunches. And sit-ups.
I'll run, I'll do jumping jacks, I'll skip until my lungs feel like they're going to burst, but I HATE lying on the floor trying to tone my tummy. So much so that I have actually been tempted to buy an ab workout machine off the television.
Yep, I hate them that much.
Luckily, before I had the chance to locate my credit card, I learnt that there are other things I can do to help flatten my stomach. Some of which can hardly even be classified as exercise at all.
Now that's my kind of workout!

#1 Laughter

Ever laughed so hard it hurts? This is because when you laugh your stomach muscles expand and contract, just the same as when you do ab-toning exercises. But what makes laughter even better is that the rest of your muscles get to relax while your stomach does all the work. So the next time you're struggling to decide on a movie, pick the comedy.

#2 Hula hoop

It's time to release your inner gymnast and purchase that pink, sparkly hula hoop because that round piece of plastic will work wonders on your soon-to-be-flat tummy. Hula-hooping raises your heart rate and targets your stomach muscles for a combination that will shed fat and tighten your abdominals.

#3 Gardening

If you've got a green thumb you're in luck! Gardening is a great workout for a flatter stomach. All of the bending, stretching and twisting your mid-section does as you plant those bulbs effectively works the stomach muscles and burns around 350 calories an hour.

#4 Boxing

Use your anger and hatred (for things like crunches) to fuel a boxing workout. Boxing is not only a great way to relieve stress, but all those arm movements and high kicks help to target your stomach muscles for a flatter, toned tummy.

#5 Sit Up Straight

It's not just good manners. Sitting up straight means your stomach muscles and the muscles that support them are constantly taut, which makes them stronger. A good trick is to imagine there is that there is wet paint on the back of your chair so that you're not tempted to lean back.