Questions on: Side crunches & Reading during cardio

Ask your health and fitness questions here, and get answers that you can actually use. Whether it’s help with motivation, safe and effective exercise programs, or how movement can impact general health, you’ll find common sense info here.

Will side crunches make my waist boxy?

Nope! A “boxy” looking waist will come from shoulders and hips that are similar in width to your waist, not from any specific abdominal exercises.
If you want to create the shape of a smaller waist, focus on building muscle elsewhere, rather than losing size at your waist. Any exercises for your back, shoulders, and glutes will help create an hourglass figure. As an added bonus, an increase in muscle mass will help you keep your body fat percentage lower and improve your general long term health.

One last thing: If you’re worried about your muscles getting too big – don’t! It actually takes a long time to build big muscles. You’ll easily be able to stop when you’re happy with how you look.

Is it safe to read while I’m on a treadmill or an exercise bicycle? Could I fall off if I get distracted?

Lots of people read while they do cardio. It’s unlikely you’d fall off a stationary or spin-style bike, or elliptical machine. You remain in contact with the machine while you’re exercising. You probably won’t fall off a treadmill, either, though this a slightly higher risk option since you may have less contact with the machine and the belt could move you backward.

Personally, I don’t love reading while on a cardio machine, unless you’re aiming for a long, slow workout. Reading will make it more difficult to exercise at anything more than a low to moderate intensity. You’ll be distracted, and the reading posture will disrupt your movement pattern. However, there is a place for a long, slow, easy-ish workout in most programs. If your aim is to work at a 2-3 out of 10 scale for a workout 45 minutes or longer, reading while you’re at it won’t be too disruptive. For everything else, audiobooks are a great option!

Have a health, fitness, motivation, or exercise question of your own? Send it through here.

What do you think?