02/16/2016 11:59 EST | Updated 02/17/2016 06:59 EST

Simple Stomach Exercises For Beginners

Because the benefits of a toned tummy go beyond bikini season.

Sure, walking around in a bikini with a flat stomach is great, but the real benefit to losing belly fat has nothing to do with swimsuit season.

For years, doctors have warned against expanding waistlines, noting that excess stomach fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

In the video above by Spry Living, trainer Natalie Jill shares five exercises that will firm up a soft stomach. Using a combination of planks, twists and crunches, these moves do more than flatten your belly, they also help to carve that sexy hourglass shape you've always dreamed of having. And the best part is, there's no equipment required — and it's completely safe for beginners!

While toning exercises are great for improving your strength and body confidence, there's a reason people say abs are made in the kitchen. If you work out but still follow a poor diet, you won't be burning enough calories to lose weight. So check out our list of ab-flattening foods in addition to doing the workout above, and you'll start seeing results in no time.

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