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Health Checkup: October 23, 2008

Smart Stomach Exercises

By Sharron Nixon

Stomach exercises are great because the stomach is one troublesome spot that, when you begin to lose the weight, will appear much more toned and flatter as a result.

Exercises like sit-ups can be done daily or at every workout session. Abdominal exercises are some of the most vital you can perform, not only because they target a portion of the body often missed by other traditional exercises, but because you can perform these exercises so frequently.

Strengthening exercises for the stomach should always be followed by a full range of stretches designed to lengthen and tone the muscles. The best abdominal exercises are those that combine aerobic exercise with spot training.

There are four abdominal muscles that form a multi-layered multi-directional girdle around the trunk or core of the body.

When performing your stomach exercises concentrate on your obliques, the stomach muscles that run up the side of your stomach and around to your back. These are exercises usually involve a twisting crunch.

The abdominals are some of the most resilient muscles in the body, which makes abdominal exercises one of the few workouts that can be practiced daily without damaging the body. Because of the resilience of abs, a dedicated person can do stomach exercises daily, helping them see results far more quickly than is possible with many other areas of the body.

One of the best things about stomach exercises is that many, if not all of them, can be done at home. Equipment such as crunch machines, specialized crunch benches, and medicine balls can all enhance the abdominal exercises you do in your home.

Don't make the mistake of doing hundreds of repetitions of stomach exercises in the hope of getting a flat stomach. Only when your body fat has lowered sufficiently, can your abdominal muscles become tight and visible.

A recent study showed that the classic sit-up is not the best exercise for stronger, flatter stomachs. The best abdominal muscles in the world may be hidden by a stubborn layer of body fat. This is because we are all of different body types. Some of us store fat more readily in the hips, buttocks, and thighs, others store fat excess in the arms and upper back and still others store their fat in the stomach and waist area.

There is no way around it: if you want that trim, defined torso, you are going to have to do stomach exercises. This is where you need a routine consisting of exercise for lower abdominal muscles. Such a routine helps you define and sculpt the lower abdominals, giving you that chiseled look.



Provides information on common health issues of concern to men including nutrition, prostate information, aging, and more.


By the year 2015, 75 percent of Americans will be overweight and 41 percent will be obese.

Dr. Fenig Answers Your Questions about Male Sexual Health and Fertility

David M. Fenig, M.D., Associate Director of Reproductive Medicine and Surgery, Sexuality and Aesthetics at Chesapeake Urology Associates answers your questions.

Q: Can my vasectomy be reversed? What are the odds?
If you've had a vasectomy and want to have children, a vasectomy reversal may be possible. An experienced surgeon can reconnect the vas deferens to allow sperm to pass through the tube. The odds of a successful reversal depend on the skill of your surgeon and the findings during surgery. The skilled doctors at Chesapeake Urology have performed many successful vasectomy reversals.

Q: My partner and I are having trouble having a baby. Could I have an infertility problem?
A male factor is present in 50% of infertile couples. As a urologist, I evaluate the male with a thorough examination and laboratory tests, including a semen analysis. Medical and surgical treatments will often help improve a man's fertility.

Q: My erections aren't as hard as they used to be. What can I do?
You are not alone. Erectile dysfunction is a common problem. ED is associated with a variety of medical conditions and medications. Oral medicines such as viagra, levitra, and cialis are very effective in restoring a man's potency. Injectable medications and surgical implants will help in severe cases.

Q: I've noticed a decrease in my energy and sex drive as I've gotten older. Is this normal?
These symptoms should not be considered a normal part of aging. While systemic illnesses and medications can cause these symptoms, a testosterone level should be checked routinely in these situations since testosterone does decrease with age. Low testosterone, or hypogonadism, may also affect exercise capacity and erections. It can be effectively treated with testosterone replacement therapy, most commonly with topical gels or injectable preparations.

Q: My penis has developed curvature. What is wrong?
The medical term is Peyronie's Disease, a process where fibrous plaques develop and cause the penis to bend. Peyronie's Disease is not contagious or related in any way to cancer. It can be treated by a urologic specialist. Medications may help slow the process or surgical straightening can be considered.

David M. Fenig, M.D., received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his urology training at New York University and Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Fenig specializes in vasectomy, vasectomy reversal, male infertility, erectile dysfunction, hypogonadism, and Peyronie's disease.

As the largest urology practice group in Maryland, Chesapeake Urology combines the expertise of 42 top physicians in 20+ convenient locations throughout the state. CUA offers expertise in treating prostate cancer, testicular cancer, erectile dysfunction, vasectomy, vasectomy reversal and more. For details, call 1-866-955-0002 or visit

Issue 3.43: October 23, 2008