Obesity is a growing concern for individuals living in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of the U.S. population has been identified as being obese. While overall weight loss is best for those struggling with obesity, some prefer to focus on a certain part of their body. Individuals who want to lose weight and sculpt their legs should include specific exercises.
Increase Calorie Expenditure
Creating a calorie deficit is crucial for those who want to lose weight and tone their legs. Unfortunately, spot-reducing -- or focusing weight loss on certain parts of the body -- is not possible. Instead, the CDC suggests that you attempt to lose weight all over your body by burning more calories and lowering your dietary intake. By creating a 500-calorie deficit per day, you can lose 1 pound -- 3,500 calories -- in seven days.
Walk This Way
Walking has long been praised as an exercise for those who are interested in burning fat and improving the tone of their legs. Walking is not only easy and inexpensive, but it is effective in the pursuit of a number of fitness-related goals. The National Institute of Health says that those who participate in high-intensity intermittent exercise -- otherwise known as HIIE -- may fare best when it comes to burning fat and sculpting stronger legs. Using training intervals, where the speed and/or incline of different exercise segments are varied, is a great way to incorporate HIIE into your fitness plan.
Ride a Bike
Biking burns calories, helps build muscle and provides other fitness- and health-related benefits. The American Council on Exercise reports that a 150-pound man or woman can burn about 300 calories by riding a bike for 30 minutes. You should cut another 200 calories from your diet to achieve a goal of 1 pound of weight loss per week. Biking also tones muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, abdomen, obliques and those in the lower back.
Squats are a strengthening exercise that build muscle mass in your quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus maximus. When combined with body-fat loss, increased muscle mass can contribute greatly to a more toned and sculpted appearance. To perform a squat properly, keep your feet shoulder-width distance apart, slowly lower your buttocks toward the ground as if you are sitting in a chair and return to a standing position. Perform two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of this exercise two or three times per week.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Overweight and Obesity
- Journal of Obesity: High Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual; American Council on Exercise
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Weight -- It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle!