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How can I get great abs? 

Exercise balls are among the most beneficial pieces of fitness equipment available on the market today. They are also among the least expensive, with most of them priced at under $40. When choosing a ball to purchase for home usage, make sure it's the right size for your height. To test it, sit on the ball and make sure your hips are level with or just slightly higher than your knees.

  For terrific abs in no time, practice doing the following exercises.

  Bridge: Sit on the floor with your upper back and neck resting on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your buttocks slightly up from the floor and stabilize the ball with your head and shoulders before lifting the body into a bridging position. Hold for 2-3 seconds, and then slowly lower yourself down into the stabilized position. Do not touch the floor. Repeat 10 times.

Upper Abdominal Crunch: Lie on the ball with the middle of your back supported. Your feet should be flat on the floor, slightly wider apart than shoulder width. Clasp your hands behind your head with elbows out to the side and tighten your abs. Lift the upper part of your torso up off the ball. Hold 2-3 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

For more information on exercise, contact The Fitness Principle with Mackie Shilstone at East Jefferson General Hospital at 504-457-3100 or visit www.ejgh.org/thefitnessprinciple.

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