Jiggly thigh fat may be a threat to your self-confidence when you are trying to look good in revealing clothing. You have little to worry about from a well-being standpoint, because this fat is benign, but to tone your thighs and gain back your self-confidence, you must do some work. Running is a form of exercise that can yield a high return on investment, provided you do it properly. Consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.
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Theory of Spot Reduction
Infomercials give you the false hope that you can lose weight in one area of your body by doing a particular exercise. Gadgets that work your abdominal muscles, for example, are commonly advertised to slim down your waistline with daily use. This theory, called spot reduction, is in fact a myth, the American Council on Exercise reports. If you want to lose weight in your thighs, you need to engage in cardiovascular exercise, which reduces weight throughout your entire body. Running is a form of cardio, so it is effective at melting thigh fat.
Time Spent Running
Any time you run, you burn calories and promote leaner thighs, but you need to be consistent to get the best results. To effectively lose weight, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity five days a week. If you run one or two days a week, take a week off, then repeat this yo-yo-like pattern, you will not burn much thigh fat. You can, however, break your daily 60 to 90 minutes into two or more sessions -- accumulated exercise is just as beneficial as a single, long episode.
Boosting Your Progress
Running at a moderate pace burns calories efficiently, and it can get you to your goal of burning off thigh fat, but there is a way to increase your progress. Interval training is an exercise method that consists of intense bursts of effort alternated with lighter bouts. With running, alternate back and forth between sprinting and either light jogging or brisk walking. Interval training burns more calories than steady-state training. Interval training also causes you to burn more calories for several hours after you are finished working out.
Metabolism of Muscle
The thighs are made up of large muscles -- the quadriceps on the front and the hamstrings on the back. Whenever you run, you build these muscles, which causes a spike in your resting metabolism. Although this is not the same effect you would get from doing squats or lunges, you still gain a slight bit of muscle, which can contribute to fat burning -- in your thighs and elsewhere -- while you are at rest. To increase the workload on your thighs, run up hills forward and backward.
Once you get accustomed to your running workouts, you should also review your diet. If you burn a massive amount of calories on the road then put them right back in your body by noshing on a pepperoni pizza, you will cancel out your progress. The best approach is to burn calories with running, reduce your calorie intake and choose nutritious, whole foods over processed varieties. Consult your doctor before making any dramatic dietary changes.