In a quest to have a smaller body, many people go on crush diets that are harmful to their bodies. Crush diets will ensure that you lose the excess weight quickly – and regain it quickly in a short time.

But for a firmer body, you need an exercise that is enduring and whose benefits are tangible with time such as the leg raise that will tone your lower abdomen and hips.

This exercise, done frequently and properly will strengthen the lower back and turn a flabby stomach into something to be admired.

The procedure
Typically, leg raises are performed on the floor. Lay out a mat in an area with enough space. If you have a problem with lower back pain, put a small pillow or towel under the lower back area.

Extend your legs to the furthest so they can go and let your arms lie on the floor, adjacent to your body.

Alternatively, you can place your palms under your buttocks. Slowly elevate your legs into the air at a 90-degree angle while keeping them straight.

Then, slowly bring them down up to the floor.
This should take about three seconds. To see the benefit of the leg raises, perform about 30 of them – if you are a beginner – three times a day.

The benefits of leg raises
Several muscles in the body benefit from leg raises. Though not the core focus of the exercise, if performed regularly, leg raises help lower the risk of back strain and pain when you are performing other activities.

Leg raises also increase the flexibility and strength of the hip flexors since they require movement at the hip joints.

However, if you have a problem with arthritis of the hip joints, do not perform this exercise unless it is recommended by an orthopaedist.

According to a study, a single bout of resistance exercise can enhance episodic memory performance, co-authored by Dr Audrey Duarte of the Memory and Aging Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA, just a 20-minute session of simple leg exercises can give the brain a boost, slowing the memory loss that comes with ageing.

Different forms of aerobic exercises, especially resistance exercises, such as leg raises, make the heart and lungs work hard and help to build muscle and improve the flow of blood in the body.

The benefits of leg raises are tied in with the frequency with which they are performed and combined with other regular exercises.

To completely rid yourself of stomach fat and shape your midsection, combine the leg raises with a good diet by trading starchy and junk food for fruits, vegetables, lean meats and proteins.

Why leg raises
-Leg raises also increase the flexibility and strength of the hip flexors since they require movement at the hip joints.
-Leg raises, make the heart and lungs work hard and help to build muscle and improve the flow of blood in the body.

gnantume@ug.nationmedia.com