Bowling can add to fitness routine


I've recently started to go bowling. Does it have any significant health benefits, and can I count it toward my weekly exercise quota?

While it won't whip you into shape like a kickboxing class might, bowling does have its fitness perks.

"It becomes a greater [health] benefit if you are bowling alone and aren't sitting for long periods of time," says Bob Maki, a spokesman for USA Bowling Coaching.

Like anything else, you get out of it what you put in. So, rather than chugging a beer for every strike, treat it like exercise. According to Maki, there are three reasons your body will thank you for strapping on those bowling shoes:

* Bowling burns roughly 240 calories an hour.

* It tones and conditions arms, shoulders, chest and legs.

* It incorporates 134 muscles.

Please give me a simple, short routine to keep my abs in shape, that is easy enough that I'll keep doing it.

James Villepigue, author of The Body Sculpting Bible for Abs, offers two foolproof tummy tighteners. Do them as a circuit with no rest in between.

Towel Crunch: Lie down. Place a rolled towel under you, just above the small of your back. With your hands held lightly behind your head, exhale and lift your shoulder blades off the floor by crunching your rib cage toward your pelvis. Pause when your shoulder blades and upper back are a few inches off the floor, and then lower slowly. To work the transversus abdominis (TVA), the deepest muscle of the abdominal wall, and protect the lower back, concentrate on pulling your abs toward your spine throughout the movement.

Superman: Lie flat on your stomach with your arms extended straight in front of you and legs extended straight behind you. Simultaneously lift your arms, chest, and legs a few inches off the mat. Keep your eyes on the floor to avoid straining your neck. Hold the position for a few seconds and lower. This movement should be slow and controlled, not jerky. A variation: lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously, then switch and lift the left arm and right leg. Do 12-15 repetitions of each exercise, three times a week.

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