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The Best Aerobic Exercise to Get Your Legs in Shape

author image Kevin Rail
I am very genuine and magnetic on camera, and have made numerous videos on my own for clients and other organizations that I'm affiliated with. I also have a degree in Sport Management, and multiple certifications to back up my validity. I've also been featured in three different exercise infomercials and had a speaking role in a National Lampoons movie.
The Best Aerobic Exercise to Get Your Legs in Shape
People running on a beach. Photo Credit: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Aerobic training works best to attack excess fat on your legs and get them in better shape. There is no real spot reduction -- the idea that you can melt fat from a target area by doing a single exercise over and over again. You need a nutritious diet and a focus on effective leg exercises.The best aerobic exercises involve movement of your legs in a steady, repetitive motion with little or no resistance.

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Good, old-fashioned running is a leg-shaping, calorie-burning aerobic exercise. Run on a treadmill, or you can take your workouts outdoors and surround yourself with Mother Nature. Running elevates your heart rate, which burns fat and activates all the major muscles in your lower body. To increase your caloric output and the workload on your legs, run up hills and alternate your speed from fast to slow. Sprint intervals build muscles while they burn fat.

Stair Climbing

Stair climbing does not cause as much impact as running, and it is still effective at shaping up your legs. Use a stair stepper, a stair climber or actual stairs for this exercise. A stepping machine has platforms where you place your feet and move up and down as if you were walking up a staircase. A stair climber has a revolving set of steps that move in a continuous motion, so you walk in place throughout your workout. You can work out on actual stairs, with one flight or multiple flights. If you use one flight, run to the top, jog to the bottom and repeat.


A rowing machine works your legs, back and arms. This apparatus has a sliding seat, footholds and a straight bar. The rowing machine simulates the motion of rowing a boat. Evey time you extend and flex your knees, you work your leg muscles. This helps tone them while you burn calories.

Elliptical Training

Elliptical training involves gliding your feet forward and back on platforms while moving alternating hand-held poles. This full-body form of aerobic training simulates cross-country skiing. As an added benefit, elliptical training does not place excess stress on your back, hips or knees. To work your leg muscles with greater intensity, glide backward or hold the stationary handles in the center of the machine and only use your legs.

Duration of Activity

The time you devote to training is an important factor in an exercise program. If you do not exercise long enough or often enough, you may not get the desired results. Losing weight and toning takes as much as 60 to 90 minutes of daily physical activity, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Aim for four or five workouts a week, and continue to work out every week for consistent results.

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