10 ways to a flat belly

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Woman with flat tummy wearing jeans

"Eat regularly. Leaving more than 3 hours between meals means stomach acid builds up. This can lead to indigestion. But eating small meals every few hours will make sure you don't get bloated."

Monica Grenfell, nutritionist
It's easy to fit into your jeans again or look great in your little black dress again with our easy exercise tips. So even if you're sitting down all day or rushing around after the kids we've got some great suggestions to help you flatten your belly.

1. Dance it off

All types of vigorous dancing is great for burning fat and calories - around 400 an hour - and dancing is a good workout for your waist too. Salsa, ballroom and belly dancing are particularly good.

2. Swap your chair for a fitness ball

You might feel silly but sitting on a fitness ball instead of a chair when you watch telly will help tone up your belly. You have to use your muscles, especially your stomach muscles to balance and stay on the ball.

3. Sit-ups

Yes, we know you've heard it before but sit-ups or crunches can help fight the flab. You won't see a change immediately and you may need to build up to doing 10-15 sit-ups a day. Always hold your hands by your ears rather than behind your head so you don't strain your neck or back.

4. The reverse curl

If you find sit-ups difficult try the reverse curl instead, it's just as effective but easier on the back. Start by lying on the floor, with your hands by your sides. Lift your bum off the floor using just your stomach muscles and keep your arms and shoulders on the floor. Hold for a few seconds then lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat 15-20 times.

5. Yoga

It's not just for celebs like Madonna, Yoga can be done by anyone at any level. It's great for toning all over but especially good at toning the belly because of the breathing exercises that are involved, and because it helps your posture - and good posture leads to a flatter tum!

6. Check your posture

To keep your tummy flat you need to keep your back strong too as the band of muscle around your waist also helps support your spine. So stand up straight and keep your back and stomach muscles taut.

7. Crunch and twist

Once you've been doing sit-ups for a while you'll notice that they've become a lot easier, don't give up and don't just do more, do them differently instead. Keep your hands by your ears and raise yourself up slowly then twist your body - from the waist, not your back or shoulders - and try to touch your knees with your opposite elbow, i.e. your right elbow comes up and across to touch your left knee. Untwist and go back to your starting position. Repeat on each side 10-15 times.

8. Touch your toes

If you're bored of sit-ups, try this exercise instead. Lie on the floor with arms straight up, pointing at the ceiling. Slowly curl yourself up and forward so that your hands are pointing towards your toes - and if you can, touch your toes. Then return to your starting position but do it slowly to stretch the muscles. Repeat 15-20 times.

9. Hold your stomach in

This is easy exercise if you're feeling lazy. Just holding your stomach in when you're walking or waiting for the bus can help tone your belly.

10. Could it just be bloating?

If it is, then there are loads of things you can do to get a slimmer waist, almost overnight. Swap fizzy drinks for still drinks, chew slowly and take pre and pro biotic supplements, which will increase your good gut bacteria and lessen the bloating. Find out more causes of a bloated stomach.

Where to next?

- If you're thinking of joining the gym, read our 5 point guide before you sign up
- Improve your diet with these simple healthy eating recipes

Our friends at Woman magazine have rounded-up their best slimming dresses, take a peek.

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