10 Slim Waist Home Workouts Approved by a Physical Therapist

As the warmth of summer approaches, many share the aspiration to achieve a more streamlined waistline. It's a common pursuit, reflecting the desire for personal wellness and confidence. While diversity in body shapes is to be celebrated, for those seeking to shed excess weight and fat, refining the waistline can be a practical aim. Here, you’ll find a selection of smaller waist exercises to help sculpt your waistline. Each exercise can be easily integrated into your routine and done from the comfort of your own home.

Is it possible to change your waist size?

Some of us may be able to change our waist size, but it depends on a number of factors. Genetics, physical activity, hormonal fluctuations, psychological factors, posture, medical conditions, sleep quality, age, and diet all impact waist circumference.

Your unique genetic makeup may predispose your body to store weight in specific areas, such as the thighs, hips, or abdomen. Embracing these individual differences is key to fostering a positive body image.

Trying to recreate an 'ideal' body shape can lead to issues with body image. If your weight and body shape sit within a healthy range, and you’re still trying to get a tiny waist, it may be time to seek help. Don't hesitate to reach out for assistance in prioritizing your overall well-being.

What is a healthy range for waist size?

Your waist-to-height ratio may be a useful indicator of health risks such as diabetes and heart disease. Based on research, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends keeping your waist measurement to less than half your height to reduce your risk of these diseases. For example, a person who is 5 ft 4 in (64 inches) tall should keep their waist below 32 inches.

Is it possible to reduce waist size through exercising?

The main factor that determines your waist size is the amount of fat you carry around your waist. You can’t lose belly fat by exercising your abs alone, but abdominal exercises can help tighten and sculpt your waistline.

To reveal visible abdominal muscles, it is essential to reduce any excess fat around the midsection through targeted exercise. Research shows regular aerobic exercise leads to a smaller waist circumference, and that higher-intensity exercise may offer greater fat loss benefits than moderate-intensity exercise.

To achieve weight loss, maintaining a calorie deficit is crucial, wherein you expend more calories than you consume daily. This may mean choosing healthier habits like cutting back on alcohol.

In addition, a diet with plenty of protein, vitamins, whole-grain carbohydrates, healthy fats, and plenty of water will fuel your body while allowing you to lose weight — if you choose the right portion sizes.

10 best exercises for a smaller waist

Here are 10 effective exercises tailored for sculpting a smaller waist, all of which can be easily executed at home without the need for a gym membership or specialized equipment apart from a yoga mat. Begin by aiming for 10 repetitions of each exercise. Adjust the number to suit your current fitness level; if it feels challenging, reduce the repetitions, and if it seems too effortless, feel free to increase them for a more intense workout.

1. Side plank

Woman doing Side plank
  1. Lie on your right side on a yoga mat.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor, taking your weight through your right elbow and feet.
  3. Aim for a 30-second hold.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

2. Heel touches

Heel touches
  1. Lie on your back on a yoga mat.
  2. Lift your head and shoulders while bringing your right hand to touch your right heel.
  3. Repeat to the other side.

3. Jackknife

Jackknife
  1. Lie on your back on a yoga mat.
  2. Raise your arms over your head.
  3. Simultaneously raise your legs while sitting up and touching your feet with your hands.

4. Plié squats

Plié squats
  1. Stand with your feet just a bit wider than hip-width apart, hand on your hips.
  2. Point your feet out to the sides.
  3. Bend your knees until they’re at the right angle to the ground.

5. Shifting lateral lunge

Shifting lateral lunge
  1. Stand with your feet wide and hands clasped in front of your chest.
  2. Bend your right knee to the right angle while shifting your weight to the right.
  3. Straighten up, then repeat on the other side.

6. Side lying crunches

Side lying crunches
  1. Lie on your left side on a yoga mat.
  2. Bend your right elbow and place your right hand on your head.
  3. Raise your head and shoulders off the ground.
  4. After completing all 10 repetitions on one side, repeat the exercise on the opposite side.

7. Bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches
  1. Lie on your back on a yoga mat.
  2. Place your hands behind your head.
  3. Raise your head and shoulders off the mat and simultaneously bring your right knee to touch your left elbow.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

8. Plank hip dips

Plank hip dips
  1. Assume the plank position on a yoga mat (face the floor and take your weight through your elbows and feet).
  2. Dip your hips over to the right, staying in the plank position.
  3. Repeat to the other side.

9. Triangle crunch

Triangle crunch
  1. Kneel on your left knee and take weight through your left hand.
  2. Fully straighten your right leg and place your right hand behind your head.
  3. Bring your right knee to touch your right elbow.
  4. After completing all 10 repetitions on one side, repeat the exercise on the opposite side.

10. Oblique 'V' crunch

Oblique 'V' crunch
  1. Lie on your right side with your left hand behind your head.
  2. Simultaneously sit up and lift both legs, bringing your left elbow to touch your left knee.
  3. Repeat to the other side when you’ve finished all 10 repetitions.

Myths about getting a slimmer waist

Unfortunately, there is plenty of misinformation regarding weight loss and waist slimming, and everyone appears to be an expert on how to get a slimmer waist. Here are some of the most common myths:

  • You can spot-reduce belly fat. Exercise can help you lose weight, but weight loss is not limited to one specific area. However, if you have a low level of belly fat, abs exercises can make your waistline appear tighter and more toned.
  • Extreme diets are the best way to get a slim waist. Such diets are usually not sustainable; when the diet ends, you're likely to return to old habits and regain the weight lost. Instead, practice a diet that nourishes the body. If you're unsure where to start, consult a dietitian for tailored advice.
  • Waist trainers are a good way to trim your waistline. A waist trainer is a constricting garment that claims to sculpt an hourglass figure for you. Aside from being uncomfortable, these garments can have serious side effects, such as unnatural pressure on organs, fractured ribs, and reduced oxygen in your bloodstream. Although you may appear to have a slimmer waist while wearing the garment, your body will revert to its natural shape as soon as you take it off.

A physical therapist’s verdict on exercises to slim the waist

A slimmer waist is a good goal if you’re carrying excess belly fat, but health is more important than shaping a specific area of the body. While it’s easy to compare your waist with photos of celebrities and athletes online, what’s healthy for them may not be healthy for you.

Always speak to a healthcare professional or certified fitness trainer before starting any new exercise regimen, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions. Find an enjoyable diet and exercise routine that feels right for your body to achieve long-lasting results.

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