Because of the aging process, you lose both muscle mass and bone density over time, so you have to work hard to counter the natural effects of years passing. Your inner thighs are responsible for drawing your leg in toward your body and help to stabilize your hips when you walk or run. Toning your inner thighs via exercise will not only improve your balance but also help you to maintain a shapely appearance.
Side Leg Lifts
For older women, performing side leg lifts from a standing position serve the dual purpose of strengthening your inner thighs while improving your balance. If you’re prone to falls, the standing version may be more helpful than lying down. To perform leg lifts, stand before the back of a chair with feet together and parallel. Hold the chair for support. Shift your weight to your left leg and inhale to prepare. Exhale and slowly lift your right leg laterally to the right, leading with your right heel. Maintain an erect posture, keeping your head up. Inhale and return the right leg to starting position. Perform 12 to 15 lifts, then repeat with your left leg. To boost the intensity of the exercise, wear a pair of light ankle weights.
When you perform adductor and abductor exercises with resistance tubing or a cable machine, you’re using the similar movements to standing leg lifts, but your legs work that much harder against a load. To condition your inner thighs, secure one end of elastic tubing to a door at ankle height. Attach an ankle strap to the tubing’s other end and then strap the tubing to your right ankle. Stand laterally with your right side facing the door. Hold on to a stationary object, such as a sturdy chair back or table for support. Lift your right leg to your right about two feet and then reverse direction and cross it over your left leg to work against the resistance. Hold the peak position for a second before returning to starting position. Perform 15 to 20 reps and then repeat the exercise with your left leg.
Using Props and Balls
If you’re sitting in a chair and watching TV, you can squeeze your legs together as if performing isometric contractions to give your inner thighs a workout. However, if you use props, such as sponges and stability balls, it can help you focus on the exercise. For example, take a sponge that you’d use to wash the car and put it between your knees. Squeeze the sponge to feel the contraction in your inner thighs. You can also lie supine on the floor and hug a stability ball between your legs. Keeping your knees bent, hold the squeeze for a count of two. Slowly release the contraction on a count of four. Perform eight to 10 reps for two sets.
Side Lunges With Weights
The side lunge will work your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings and buttocks, improve your balance and stretch your hip flexors. If you hold a pair of light dumbbells, the added load can help you to increase bone density in your arms and legs. Begin by standing with feet hip-width apart and parallel. Keeping your weight on the left foot, breathe in and step to your right. Once you plant your right foot, shift your weight to that foot. While pushing your pelvis back, bend your right knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Your shin should be vertical and your flexed knee should be aligned over your foot. Exhale and slowly return to starting position. Repeat the lunge, stepping to the left side. Perform eight to 12 lunges on each side.
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Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.