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Does the Elliptical or Treadmill Slim Down the Thighs?

author image Jen Weir
Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.
Does the Elliptical or Treadmill Slim Down the Thighs?
Smiling man running on a treadmill. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

The elliptical and treadmill are two popular exercise machines used to improve health and lose weight. Slimmer thighs is a goal both machines can help you attain as long as you use them properly and with enough intensity. Which machine is best for the job depends on your personal preferences and current state of health.

Where the Fat Comes From

The elliptical and treadmill both rely heavily upon your large lower-body muscles; however, just because this area of your body is used, doesn't guarantee that's where the fat loss is going to happen. In other words, working your thighs will not guarantee slimmer thighs. Spot reduction is not something your body does. Instead, it relies upon fat stores throughout your body to fuel the working muscles. So while using an elliptical or treadmill can result in slimmer thighs, it can also lead to a slimmer belly and arms.

Put Out the Effort

Plodding along on an elliptical or treadmill for an hour will burn calories and aid in your fat loss efforts. However, if you're looking for results, keep in mind that the higher your exercise intensity, the more calories you'll burn and the more fat you'll lose. There are several ways to increase the intensity on an elliptical or treadmill, including increasing your speed, increasing your incline or, with an elliptical only, increasing your resistance. When it comes to exercise and fat loss, the American Council on Exercise notes that high-intensity interval training is one of the most effective ways to reduce abdominal and subcutaneous fat. This type of training involves alternating bursts of intense activity with recovery periods.

Put In the Time

Consistency is the key to success in the quest for slimmer thighs. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week; however, more than 250 minutes may be necessary if you're looking for significant weight loss. This can be broken down into 30 to 60 minutes per day of moderately intense exercise five days per week or 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days per week. Choose an elliptical or treadmill workout that fits with your schedule and that you can commit to on a daily basis.

Don't Sabotage Your Efforts

Using an elliptical or treadmill faithfully will do little for your thighs if you fail to censor what goes into your mouth. A soda here, a doughnut there can quickly negate all of the time you've put in at the gym. Consider the fact that out of 24 hours, you only exercise for one to two hours. The rest of that time is spent in a relatively sedentary state. What you eat during this time is either burned for fuel or stored as fat. Be smart about what you put in your body; choose whole, fresh, nutritious foods that your body can use rather than high-calorie processed junk foods.

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