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What Is the Abdomen?

The abdomen or the belly is that part of the human body between the pelvis and the chest. The part enclosed by the abdomen is called the abdominal cavity. In this cavity is contained the alimentary tract made up of the lower esophagus, the stomach, the duodenum, the jejunum, the ileum, the cecum, the appendix, the ascending the traverse and the descending colons, the sigmoid colon and the rectum. Also included are vital organs namely: the liver, the kidneys, the pancreas, and the spleen.

A simple way of dividing the abdomen is by using the 4 quadrant: right upper quadrant, left upper quadrant, right lower quadrant and the left lower quadrant. The abdomen contains the peritoneum which is a membrane that covers most organs in the belly. Those organs partially covered by the peritoneum are referred to as retroperitoneal organs. The abdominal wall is divided into posterior or back, lateral or side, anterior or front walls. This abdominal wall is made up of muscles that support the trunk, enable movement and helps in breathing along with the diaphragm located in the upper abdomen. The appearance of the tummy depends mainly on the condition of the abdominal muscles. Properly exercised and toned abdominal muscles will give support to the spine and back, improve posture and balance, protect against injury, provide flexibility and give one an appealing look. There are specific work outs for specific muscle groups. Yoga, Pilates, Tai chi, jogging, cycling, crunches, exercise balls, and many other disciplines and machines can help one achieve the kind of toned abdomens they prefer.

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