During the winter, it is easy to gain extra weight in your legs due to eating more comfort food and exercising less. Once spring comes, many women want to wear shorts, capris and skirts again, but they find they need to tone their legs. Fortunately, with just a few weeks of concentrating on this area, you can have nicely toned thighs and calves.
Lose excess weight. If you are overweight or obese, begin a weight-loss regimen. Restrict your caloric intake, and perform cardiovascular exercise up to 5 days per week. Add some toning and strength exercises two to three times per week, although your main goal should be getting to a healthy weight and reducing the amount of fat that is stored in your legs. Exercises that engage your leg muscles include walking, using elliptical machines and jumping rope.
Decide how many repetitions you need to do. If you are not using weights, start slowly, and build up to 15 to 20 repetitions of each exercise. If you are using moderate or moderately heavy weights, build up to 10 to 15 repetitions. In all cases, start with just a few repetitions–five to 10–if you have not been doing strength exercises in the recent past. Add a few more every week until you reach your goal number.
Do squats and lunges. Squats and lunges are typically recommended for thigh toning, but they can be hard on your knees. To perform a squat, place your feet about a foot apart, and point them straight ahead. Slowly bend your knees while leaning forward slightly, then raise up to your starting point. To do lunges, place your feet about 24 inches apart, with your toes pointing to the sides. Slowly bend your right knee until it is over your big toe, then stand. Repeat with your other knee.
Continue toning your thighs. Stand with your feet together. Keeping your legs straight, raise one leg to the side. Repeat with the other leg. This will tone your outer thighs. Standing in the same position, lift your leg to the front, and cross it in front of you to tone your inner thighs. Lifting your leg behind you will tone the backs of your thighs, and lifting your leg in front of you will tone the fronts of your thighs.
Use a step to tone your calves. Holding into the wall or the back of a chair for balance, stand with the ball of your foot on the step and your heel hanging over the edge. Slowly raise and lower your body by lifting and dropping your heel. Do this in three positions: with your feet parallel, with your toes pointing 45 degrees inward and with your toes pointing 45 degrees outward.
- Before starting any exercise regimen, check with your physician. This is especially important if you are overweight or have any health problems.