Losing weight can be tough, and it can be especially tough for women to slim and trim their legs and thighs. Shapely, strong legs can help you look slimmer all over. Leg lifts are easy to do and can help you burn some calories while strengthening your legs, thighs and butt. You can only lose weight and slim down by burning more calories than you consume and exercising. Combine aerobic exercise with a reduced-calorie diet to lose weight all over your body. Add leg lifts to help firm and tone your legs.
Spot Reduction Myth
Most people have seen those late-night commercials advertising the latest fitness program that targets your hips, thighs, butt or belly and promises to melt the pounds away in just one area. You can't get a slimmer waist by doing only crunches or lose fat on your thighs by walking alone. You have to combine a reduced-calorie diet with aerobic and strength-training exercises to lose weight, and firm and tone your body. Leg lifts can tone your leg muscles under the fat, but leg lifts alone won't get rid of body fat. Once you lose those excess pounds through diet and exercise, keep exercising your legs and your whole body to keep the weight off and maintain a slimmer figure.
Side Leg Raises
Side leg raises are easy to do and will firm up those upper thighs fast. Place your hand on a wall or hold onto a sturdy chair if you need help keeping your balance. Stand up straight and drop your shoulders a little bit to help straighten your back. Squeeze your abs and lift your left leg off the floor. Keep your leg straight as you lift your left leg out and up to the side as far as you can. Hold it for a few seconds and then lower your leg. Do eight to 10 repetitions with each leg. You can boost your side leg raises by wearing ankle weights, too.
Lying Leg Lifts
If you feel like taking a load off and getting some leg exercise in at the same time, do some lying leg lifts. Lie down on your left side. Stretch your legs out and stack one on top of the other. Hold up your body on your left forearm by bending your elbow and placing it underneath your left shoulder. Squeeze your belly tight and lift your right leg straight up toward the ceiling. Go as high as you can without hurting yourself and then relax. Do eight to 10 repetitions with each leg. Loop a resistance band around your ankles for a muscle-strengthening resistance workout for your legs.
Single Leg Circles
Turn over on your back after doing those lying leg lifts and take a few deep breaths. Stretch your legs out and rest your arms straight out on each side of your body with your palms flat on the floor. Lift your right leg off the floor about 2 inches and point your toes. Squeeze your belly tight to keep your torso stable. Lift your right leg toward the ceiling as high as you can without hurting yourself. Make five small circles clockwise in the air with your big toe, then make five small circles counter-clockwise. Gently lower your leg back to the floor and repeat with the other side.
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.