For generations, fat has been associated with the hips. As a woman, you grow up watching your mom struggle with hip and thigh fat. You watch her squat and lunge, tossing aside sugary treats until her trouble spots are toned. We now know that spot reduction's an old wive's tale, and that you must add cardio as you tone to lose weight. Always check with you doctor first, though, especially if you have a chronic health condition.
The whole-body benefits of heart thumping, blood pumping aerobics can also target your hips. Activities that elevate your heart rate and use at least one major muscle group classify as aerobic, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Shed weight by doing 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to four times a week. Focus on your hips with energetic standing sidekicks, side jumps, squat kicks and hip and leg raises.
As you shed hip fat, tone those 17 hip-supporting muscles so you'll burn calories long after you've stopped exercising. The more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn, even at rest, according to Mayoclinic.com. Engage in strengthening exercises, such as hip adduction and abduction, hip extension and internal and external rotation. Some hip exercises use ankle weights, but use these with caution -- you can easily strain your legs or ankles if not careful. Be safe and replace weights with a resistance band.
You've burned calories and toned muscle, and now it's time to stretch your hip muscles. Think of this as muscle rehab. Your hectic 9-to-5 lifestyle, consisting of a commute, followed by sitting at a desk all day wreaks havoc on your hip flexors -- or front hip muscles -- and glutes. Together, these muscles seize up, but stretching exercises, such as yoga, help you flex, stretch and unwind. Try the Marichi's Pose, Extended Triangle Pose and Side Reclining Leg Lift.
Program Design and Considerations
Warm up with gentle aerobic activity and cool down for 5 to 10 minutes before each fat-burning session. Set aside at least 20 minutes daily for aerobic exercises, and 10 to 15 minutes for both strength and stretching, doing your hip routine three times a week. Yoga beginners should stick to its exercises three times a week. With intricate back bends and hand placements, yoga can be tricky. If you're new to the practice, consider checking out a local group class before going solo as to prevent injury. D
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Aerobic Exercise
- Fitness: Hips, Hips, Away!
- Mayoclinic.com: Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Hip Conditioning Program
- Mayoclinic.com: Could Ankle Weights Help Me Get More Out Of My Usual Walking Routine?
- Yoga Journal: Marichi's Pose
- Yoga Journal: Extended Triangle Pose
- Yoga Journal: Side Reclining Leg Lift
- Yoga Journal: What’s the Frequency, Natasha?
- American Council on Exercise: Why Do Muscles Tighten Up?
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images