Does Running Help Slim Down Your Legs?

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We all want to feel slimmer and running can be a great way to tone your leg muscles and lose weight overall. A good mix of cardio and strength training helps you burn fat and tone the muscles in your lower body. Losing weight can be hard but running is a good form of aerobic exercise that will help you reach your desired body composition.

Running for Weight Loss

To effectively lose weight and body fat, you must be in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume). Running is a good choice if you want to get slimmer legs, and lose belly fat as well as thigh fat because you can run outdoors or indoors on a treadmill. You don’t need to be a long distance runner to see the benefits of cardio exercises, walking at an incline will work muscle fibers, get your heart rate up, and provide physical activity that makes you look and feel better. You'll notice weight loss in your entire body, since running doesn't target your thighs alone but also works your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. However, you may get more muscular legs but there are fat burning exercises of moderate intensity to help tone your legs.

Exercise Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of cardio each week. If you want to lose excess weight in your thighs, you might want to consider weight lifting for beginners. Weight training with low reps (repetitions) and a moderate weight intensity will help you become leaner while not bulking. If your overall goal is to gain muscle, try doing moderate reps of increasing weight. When you start weight lifting, make sure to have a cardio warm up to raise your heart rate as well as the number of calories you burn. In addition to weight lifting, resistance training or HIIT workouts are the best exercises to add to your running routines. HIIT is a full body workout that will burn carbohydrates and build up muscle. Running workouts are a great start and close to any weight training that you do.

Interval Training

Running doesn’t need to be intense distance running, you can get a similar calorie burn from interval training. This type of training is ideal for running, and involves alternating moderate running with vigorous running over an amount of time. Not only will you burn more calories and slim your thighs faster, but you can also shorten your exercise time if you have trouble fitting in an entire workout. There are many high intensity interval training that are cardio based and work your cardiovascular system. This may look like walking for three minutes, jogging for two minutes, then sprinting for one minute. This interval training makes cardio go by faster and keeps me from getting bored while on a treadmill.


While cardio is a valuable way to burn excess fat on your thighs, strength training is important for toning the muscles in your upper legs. Running is a good choice for cardio because it activates your thigh muscles and burns calories, but adding squats, lunges and deadlifts increases the benefits and builds lean muscle mass, which boosts metabolism and burns additional calories. These exercises will help tone your legs and build muscle simply using body weight. Aim to strength train two or three days a week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, with at least one day of rest between. Adding in strength training alone will not do too much, it’s important to pay close attention to your calorie intake and make sure you are consuming less calories than what you are burning in a workout.

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