The abdomen, buttocks and thighs are the three most problem areas for many women. They seem to attract fat the fastest and hold on to it the longest when you want to get rid of it. Fortunately, through cardiovascular and strength exercises, you can lose the jiggle and replace it with a lean, toned physique.
The only way to get rid of pudge on any part of the body is through cardiovascular exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 to 300 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. Although any heart-pumping exercise will do, rowing not only burns fat, but also simultaneously tones your abs, butt and thighs. Kickboxing, tennis, inline skating and boot-camp style programs also burn fat and build muscle in problem areas.
The American Council on Exercise reports that the bicycle is one of the best abdominal exercises for both the rectus abdominis -- the muscle on the front of your belly -- and the obliques -- the muscles along your sides. The bicycle is not only effective, but also easy because it doesn't require any equipment. Lie on your back on the floor, lace your fingers behind your head and pedal your legs, twisting your torso as if you're trying to touch your pulled-in knee to the opposite elbow. Do 10 to 20 reps with each pedal counting as one-half. Planks are another great exercise for the abs, as well as the back, shoulders, butt and legs. To do a plank, lie face down on the floor and place your forearms on the mat, keeping your elbows under your shoulders. Lift your belly and thighs off the floor and hold for 15 to 60 seconds.
The good news is that most exercises that work the glutes also work the thighs and often the abs, too. One such exercise is the squat, which ACE says is one of the most effective glute toners. Stand with your legs hip-width or a little wider apart. Bend at the knees and shift your hips back as if you're sitting down. Then stand back up and repeat 12 to 15 times. As you get stronger and want to sculpt a rounder bootie, do the squats while holding dumbbells. Glute bridges or butt lifts are ideal if bad knees prevent you from doing squats. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your butt muscles to lift your behind off the floor. Hold for a few counts before lowering and then repeat 12 to 15 times.
Get rid of saddlebags and rubbing thighs through side-lying leg lift exercises. Side-lying hip abduction targets the muscles on the outside of the thigh. Lie on your side with your hips stacked and head resting on your arm. Lift the top leg as high as you can without letting your hips roll back. Lower and repeat 12 to 15 times and then switch to the other side. Tighten the inner thigh muscles through side-lying hip adduction. Similar to side-lying hip abduction, lie on your side with your hips stacked, but this time extend your top leg forward 30 degrees. Lift the bottom leg as high as possible, hold for a count then lower. Repeat 12 to 15 times then do the other leg.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- ExRx.net: Front Plank
- American Council on Exercise: Glutes to the Max
- ExRx.net: Squat
- American Council on Exercise: Glute Bridge
- American Council on Exercise: Side Lying Hip Abduction
- American Council on Exercise: Side Lying Hip Adduction
Leslie Truex has been telecommuting and freelancing since 1994. She wrote the "The Work-At-Home Success Bible" and is a career/business and writing instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Truex has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Willamette University and a Master of Social Work from California State University-Sacramento. She has been an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified fitness instructor since 2001.