Hours of crunches aren't the only key to a flat stomach. Simply sneak in a few minutes of these exercises every day, and you'll be on your way to tight, toned abs in no time.

You think the old proverb ‘no pain, no gain’ is totally true when it comes to your abs? No, as there are plenty of ways you can engage your core all day long for fitness and weight loss without hours of mat work at the gym or at home. With these simple tips, you can work your way to flatter abs while going to work, in your office and even when you’re relaxing at home. Even better, these moves are very simple and the perfect starter routine for any fitness level.

The morning fitness

Ballerinas are known for their flat stomachs, so spend five minutes copying their dance move when you get up in the morning. Stand beside the left side of a chair and rest your left hand on its back. Keep your legs together. Touch your heels, and point your toes out to form a triangle. Lift your right arm straight up, reaching for the ceiling. Now hinge forward at the waist, holding the position, tighten your abs and exhale and slowly lift yourself to the starting position. A complete repetition should take about 20 seconds. Do five repetitions in all, adding more reps as you feel stronger.

Work your core as you commute

Driving to work or taking public transit? Do some isometric contractions while on your way. Pull your abs in and contract without holding your breath. Hold for a few seconds and then release. Here’s a good way to be sure you do it enough to benefit, repeat for at least two songs on the radio for better results in no time.

Stretch at your desk

Once you’re at work and at your desk, try these seated rotations. Hold a filled water bottle, paperweight, or small hand weight between both hands. Sit up tall and keep your knees forward. Slowly rotate the bottle from one side of your body to the other side, concentrating on contracting your oblique, if you squeeze your weight of choice as you rotate, you will engage your chest too.

Try side bends before lunch

This is a great one to do at work or anywhere at a trip as well, when you need to stretch. Stand up and reach your arms overhead, pressing your palms together and keeping your arms straight. Stretch up and lean to the right as far as you can, focusing on contracting the left side of your waist. Come back to the centre and lean to the left, focusing on contracting the right side of your waist. Repeat for 60 seconds.

Do leg lifts in line

Sneak in this move while waiting in line at the cafeteria or in the grocery store. Stand with your feet 2 to 3 inches apart. Engage your abdominal muscles so that your spine is stable and straight. Slowly lift your left leg 3-6 inches off the ground and balance on your right leg. Try not to sway from side to side as you hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Return your foot to the ground and repeat with your right leg. Aim for an equal number of repetitions with each leg before you reach the head of the line. It is easy and will help you regain your balance, as well as tone your abs in no time.

Move in the mid-afternoon

Here’s another ab workout you can try mid-afternoon. Stand up and put your hands flat on your desk or your kitchen slab, directly under your shoulders. Keeping your back flat, walk one foot backward and then the other until your body forms a straight line. You should look as though you’re going to do a push up. Now walk towards your front. Repeat for 60 seconds or more.

Add abs after dinner

When you’re at home relaxing, get off the couch and grab a stability ball. For this workout, lie on the ball and position it under your lower back. Place your arms behind your head or cross them over your chest. Tighten your abs, and lift your torso off the ball. As you contract your stomach muscles, pull the bottom of your ribcage down toward your lower back down to stretch your abs. The ball forces your legs to do more work than just doing floor crunches. It will maintain your balance on the ball and engage your entire body.

Master the move

Stand on a yoga mat with your feet together. Bend at your hips into a forward bend. Pull your pelvic bone down and round your spine to touch your head to your knees. Keeping your legs completely straight, press your palms firmly into the floor, directly beside your feet. Repeat it three times and breathe at a normal pace.

Exercise before bed

Lie down on the floor on your back with your legs straight out. Slowly bring your right leg up toward the ceiling as you lift your left arm as well. Cross your leg over your body so your toes touch your fingertips or get them as close as you can. Lower and repeat with your left leg and your right arm. Go slow to control the movement and do as many as you can in five minutes.

Crunch these ab exercises into your everyday routine and you’ll start to see positive results. Remember that for a truly flat stomach, it takes a lot of effort. Don’t forget to exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet while burning more calories than you consume. And moreover, stay loyal to your body; the more your love it, the more it gives back to you. Drink a lot of water, as it will cleanse the toxins in your body and help you relax.