Saddlebags, the fat on the outside of the thighs, are a common problem area for women. They're not only unsightly, but they can make finding clothes that fit difficult. Treadmills are an excellent way to get rid of saddlebags. Treadmills not only burn overall body fat -- including saddlebag fat -- through cardiovascular exercise, but they strengthen and tone thigh muscles as well. Further, because of the variety of programmable functions, treadmills can be used by anyone, regardless of your fitness level.
Determine your target heart rate for your age. Your target heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 and multiplying the result by 50 percent and 85 percent. If you're 25 years old, subtract 25 from 220 to get 195. Multiply 195 by 0.50 and 0.85 to get 97.5 and 165.8.
Warm up by walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes. Warming up gets the blood flowing and loosens the muscles to help avoid injury during the cardio phase of your workout.
Do 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity in the target heart rate zone you calculated. Thirty minutes is the minimum required, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 60 minutes for weight loss. Increase your heart rate by increasing the speed and/or elevating the incline of the treadmill.
Sculpt the thighs by walking on an incline. The incline simulates walking uphill, which tones the thighs and glutes. Plus it keeps the heart rate up. Increase the incline gradually by 1 to 2 percent every minute or two until you reach an incline of 10. Then decrease the incline by 1 to 2 percent back down. If you're running, consider decreasing the speed as you increase the incline to stay within your target heart rate zone.
Do walking lunges to sculpt the thighs and glutes. Slow the treadmill down to 1 or 2 mph. Keeping your head and torso over your hips, take a big stride forward with the right foot and drop your left knee toward the treadmill runner. Make sure the right knee stays over the ankle. Push off with your left foot and take a big step forward to repeat on the other side. Do two sets of 20 lunges.
Cool down for five to 10 minutes with a slow, easy walk on the treadmill.
- Read the instructions or consult a personal trainer before using a treadmill. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you are normally sedentary or have a medical condition.
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.