Looking to get back into your skinny jeans, try a lower-body focused cardio routine. Cardio routines burn up the calories getting rid of excess fat and helping to tone your muscles. However, you cannot spot remove fat from one area, but you can use cardio routines that specifically target the leg muscles to tone and thin out your legs. Cardio routines also rev up your metabolism helping to keep your legs thin.
Running stadium stairs is a tough cardio routine that will get you thinner legs fast. Running stairs targets the quads, glutes and hamstrings, toning your leg muscles while burning up the calories. Start by walking up the stairs and running down the stairs. Gradually increase to running up and down the stairs. You can take the stadium in sections and make completing all sections in one workout a goal to work toward. Goals help to keep you motivated and focused. Try varying your run by running sideways on some sections or stopping and doing 10 pushups between sections.
High-Intensity Interval Training
If you are short on time, high-intensity interval training, also called HIIT, is an efficient cardio routine to help you get those spaghetti legs fast. Short bursts of intense running, running up stairs, sprinting or any other running type exercise burn up calories reducing fat, but also by focusing on running type exercises you are working the leg muscles toning and thinning your legs. The key is to use cardio exercises that use the big muscles of the legs. Burst-rest periods are performed for around 20 minutes. The goal is to push your body to maximum and then rest for the same amount of time as the burst. HIIT can be used with running by sprinting for 60 seconds and then walking for 60 seconds. Keep repeating the burst-rest intervals for 10 to 20 minutes. You will burn more fat during and for up to 1.5 hours after exercise, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. HIIT training can be done running up stairs, weight lifting or any exercise that can be controlled for short durations. This allows you to keep your workout fresh by varying the exercise.
Another cardio routine that activates the major muscles in your thighs and lower body is jumping rope. The jumping action increases muscular endurance, not muscle size -- which will thin out your legs while toning your muscles. Jumping rope is easy, and all you need is a rope and a good pair of aerobic shoes. Keep your knees slightly bent and your back straight during jumping. Also, you can vary the intensity of how fast you jump rope. If you have children, it is a good way to get them off the couch and exercising with you. Jumping rope has been shown to increase children’s mental function, according to a study by Dr. Catherine L. Davis at the Georgia Center for Prevention of Obesity and Related Disorders.
Riding a bike is another cardio routine that engages the big muscles of the legs increasing cardiovascular activity. However, just riding your bike will burn calories everywhere and not target your legs. You want to challenge the muscles in your legs to get the most toning action, helping to reduce the thickness of your thighs. You do this by cycling at an intense pace till your legs are tired and then turn down the speed to a moderate rate. Alternate between high and medium intensity cycling to get the most slimming action on your thighs. Most gyms have recumbent bicycles that have a variety of programs to challenge you and keep you burning calories. For a more intense cycling workout, try taking a cycling class. The bikes are closer to street bicycles and the class is lead by an instructor who will lead you through an increasing level of difficulty geared for endurance and fat burning.
Before starting any intense workout program, check with your doctor or health-care provider, especially if you are under medication or have any pre-existing medical conditions. Get good aerobic shoes that provide support, and wear comfortable clothing that breathes.
Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.