If you've ever looked in the mirror and wondered if you were the original target for the term "thunder thighs," you're not alone. Most women dislike something or other about their bodies, but exercise science teaches you that efforts at spot reduction on your thighs, and everywhere else, are futile. But you can slim down your thighs, as well as the rest of your physique, by simply walking and eating right.
Lower Disease Risk
Walking is low impact, relaxing, does not generally cause injury to your joints and muscles, and can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association both recommend walking for a minimum of 150 minutes per week. That's just 30 minutes per day to walk for your long-term health.
Trim Your Thighs
While you cannot spot reduce to lose fat from just your thighs, walking burns extra calories, which will help you to burn fat from all over your body. Walking helps build lean, flexible muscles on your thighs. Muscle tissue takes more energy to maintain than fat does, so it burns more calories all the time, even when you're sitting still. In order to better see the muscle tone, you'll need to burn the fat off your thighs -- and your whole body -- by walking or other cardio exercise.
Your calorie burn on a walk depends on your weight and the distance, speed and incline you use. In one hour of walking, a 160-pound person going at a 2-mile-per-hour pace -- 30-minute miles -- burns about 204 calories, but if that same person walks at a 3.5-mile-per-hour pace -- about 17-minute miles -- she burns about 314 calories. Bump that up to a light jog at 5 miles per hour -- 12-minute miles -- and there are 606 calories burned. To shed fat pounds, and reveal slimmer thighs and slimmer everything, you need to expend more calories than you eat.
Maximize Your Benefits
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Change up your walking routine by walking backward, or sideways, or on a different route. Walk up or down a hill, through a park or with your dog. To really maximize fat loss and muscle use, try hitting a hiking trail from time to time. The uneven ground will engage your stabilizer muscles and your mind. Don't underestimate the importance of a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Processed foods, excess sugar and fat will undermine your weight-loss efforts and you'll have to work much harder to see and maintain any positive changes.
Ari Reid has a bachelor's degree in biology (behavior) and a master's in wildlife ecology. When Reid is not training to run marathons, she is operating a non-profit animal rescue organization. Reid has been writing web content for science, health and fitness blogs since 2008.