Subcutaneous fat, a layer of fat under the skin, contributes to fat knees. Toning your legs with a regular exercise program helps your knees become stronger and firmer. Toning results from strengthening your muscles. Although toning your knees helps reduce the appearance of fat, the ultimate solution to fat knees is to reduce overall body fat. This requires regular aerobic exercise in addition to moderate calorie reduction. Fat accumulates when you consume more calories than you burn off. Just as countless situps won't flatten a belly while a person is overweight, no amount of toning will make knees look thin if you're carrying excess body fat.
Set up an exercise schedule that suits your fitness level. A common pitfall for people who want to get in better shape is taking on too much exercise too soon, or doing too little and giving up because of not seeing results. Include aerobics, strength training and stretching to improve your physical fitness.
Perform at least one form of weight-bearing aerobic exercise at least three days a week. For example, start with taking 20 minute brisk walks. Walk fast enough so that you're breathing hard. To achieve aerobic benefits and promote weight loss, you should exercise hard enough so that you can speak a few words but not carry on a conversation.
Perform squats, lunges, side lunges, calf raises, scissors, the bicycle exercise and rear leg raises or donkey kicks to strengthen your legs and tone fat knees. Include abdominal and upper body exercises such as crunches, planks, side planks, pushups, pullups and triceps dips for total body strengthening to improve your fitness and elevate your metabolism.
Perform yoga or stretches after each exercise session to improve your flexibility and reduce your risk of soreness and injuries. Stretching helps to elongate your muscles to give your legs a leaner appearance.
Avoid excess sodium and improve your diet to reduce water retention. Your knees and other areas appear larger when you carry excess water. Cut out processed meat, table salt, salty snack foods, canned foods and most frozen dinners. Check food labels for sodium content -- many sauces, condiments and cheeses contain a significant amount of sodium.
Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Avoid refined grains and increase whole food sources of fiber such as whole grains, beans, fruit and vegetables to reduce water retention and curb your appetite.
Things You'll Need
Proper fitting shoes
Healthy, low-sodium foods
Perform new exercises slowly and pay attention to proper form to reduce the risk of injury. For example, keep your back flat, without rounding it or arching, when you perform squats and lunges. Don't lock your knees while exercising. If you've been inactive, start with short exercise sessions such as 10 to 20 minutes on alternate days and increase your time each week with the goal of exercising most days of the week for an hour.
Consult your doctor about swelling, pain, water retention or tenderness to the touch in one or both knees. Choose low-impact exercise such as walking or low-impact aerobics for the first two weeks if you've been inactive so that your body becomes used to exercise.