I would really like to tone my abs up for this summer and wondered if you had any basic suggestions for ab exercises that I can do at home as well as possibly at my desk? I am also in the process of training my body to get used to running. I started with running 10 min straight and am now running 15 min straight. I hope to keep increasing that time the stronger I get but wondered if you had any ideas, or advice for beginner runners? I am overweight and am trying to really get in shape this summer and fall into a healthy exercise routine that I wont be scared of, or worried I can't keep up with. Any advice would be appreciated.

Great job on getting started with your new exercise program! You have already taken the hardest step. Starting off slowly and increasing gradually is the best way to increase strength and gain stamina. As for your running program, I suggest that you work on increasing your mileage by about 10% each week. Increasing too quickly can cause injury and set you back. Alternate your running with walking to allow you to increase your mileage without getting fatigued too early. You can do this by running for five minutes and walking for a one minute, and then repeating until you reach the desired mileage. The summer months can be challenging if you are exercising outdoors, be sure to bring water to be properly hydrated and always wear supportive shoes that fit comfortably.
As for a program for your abdominals, I would recommend a couple of basic exercises.

The first is a “Prone Hover”. Lie face down on the floor, place your elbows under your shoulders, raise your body on your elbows and toes while maintaining a straight back. Hold this position for as long as you can. Work your way up to holding this for 2 minutes.

The second is called a “Dead Bug”. Lie on your back on the floor with palms facing down. Point your knees toward the ceiling and then elevate your lower legs until they are parallel to the floor. Begin by extending your right heel toward the floor until it touches the floor then return to the starting position. Repeat with the left heel and return. Alternate this for a total of 10 repetitions. To make this more challenging, extend your leg straight as you lower it to the ground then repeat for a total of 10 times alternating sides as you lower.

Another great strength builder is a “wall sit”. This is done by putting your back against the wall with your feet about 12 inches away from the wall. Slide down the wall until your legs are almost parallel and you are in a “seated” position. Hold the pose for as long as you can. While you are in the seated position, you can also concentrate on pulling your abdominals in toward the wall and then relaxing them. Repeat your “pelvic tilts” on the wall until you have reached a total of 10 and then stand up to give your legs a break.

These are all exercises that you can do either at home or at work. I would recommend that you do them every other day and focus on your running/walking program at least 3-4 days per week. If weight loss is also a goal of yours, it is important too cut down your portions and choose fresh, healthy fruits, vegetables and grains whenever possible.

Good luck!!

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