Getting a flat stomach requires discipline and adherence to a healthy diet and consistent exercise program. The Mayo Clinic states that you cannot spot-reduce fat from the body; however, overall weight loss will target trouble zones such as the belly for the flatter appearance you desire. You can tone up your stomach muscles to achieve the appearance of a flatter tummy in as little as five minutes by following some tips as part of a daily healthy lifestyle.
An improved posture can make your stomach look flatter in a matter of minutes. Stand tall with your abdominal and gluteal muscles contracted to prevent your stomach and butt muscles from sticking out. "Good Housekeeping" suggests doing a bridging and bird-dog exercise twice a week to target the belly and butt for a slimmer stomach. Do the bridging exercise by lying down on a mat on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms by your sides. Contract your abs and gluteals as you lift your hips up into the air. Pause for a second before returning to start. Repeat 10 to 12 times for a total of three sets.
Drinking more water can help deflate your belly and only takes a few minutes to do. A distended belly may be the result of water retention or slowed digestion. The Mail Online suggests that drinking more water flushes out excess water and sodium stored in the body for a flatter tummy. Furthermore, water can help speed up digestive processes and ease constipation to decrease a belly pooch. Aim to drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day or more depending on your individual needs and physical activity levels.
Increase the difficulty of exercises to tighten belly muscles in minutes. Trainer Brett Hoebel, on The Dr. Oz Show, suggests doing a side-plank pushup as part of a five-minute flat-belly workout. Combining exercises increases the metabolism and caloric burn for weight loss. Do a side-plank pushup by lying on your left side on the floor. Lift yourself off the floor so you are resting on your elbow and the outside of your left foot. Legs should be stacked on top of each other as the body forms a straight line from head to toe. Tighten the abdominal muscles and hold this position for 10 seconds. Next, turn your body over into a pushup position so you're looking down at the floor with elbows under your shoulders and toes touching the ground. Lower into a pushup and back up. Turn sideways to repeat the side plank on your right side. Repeat the series five to 10 times. Drop to your knees if the full plank or pushup position is too difficult.
Aerobic exercise speeds up the metabolism for fat loss all over the body. The longer you exercise, the more calories you'll burn for a flatter stomach. However, short bursts of speed work can increase caloric burn and have you burning more calories even after your workout, according to The Globe and Mail. Add in five minutes of interval training to a running or cycling workout by working at a hard effort for 30 to 60 seconds followed by a lighter to moderate effort also for 30 to 60 seconds. Alternatively, fit in short bursts of exercise throughout your day such as jumping rope for five minutes at a moderate to hard effort in which it's hard to carry on a conversation.
Jennifer Andrews specializes in writing about health, wellness and nutrition. Andrews has a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She teaches yoga and pilates and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.