Lean, toned legs can be yours with a commitment to a fitness plan. Before you begin, check with your doctor about your exercise ideas and any concerns you may have. Also be sure to set goals that match your body type to avoid striving for an unattainable image. With these moves to get your lower body fit and toned, your legs will be slim, strong and ready to carry you to wherever you want to go.
Kickoff with Cardio
To burn fat, the body will need regular cardio exercise. Aim for 20 to 45 minutes of aerobic activity most days of the week. If lean legs are your goal, choose activities that will get your heart and legs pumping together. Running, walking or cycling are options that rely on leg muscles to power the movements. Dancing, skating or kickboxing will also work your legs while helping your body burn fat. As long as toned legs are your target, avoid activities that mostly work the upper body, like kayaking or boxing.
Carve Your Calves
The key to strong, shapely calves is building up the area's powerful muscle. At the gym, hop on a stair machine and crank up the resistance to get your lower legs working hard. Outside of the gym, try mixing up your cardio by running up stadium steps, bleachers or small hills. Walking or jogging up an incline will engage and build calf muscles. Try these activities for 30-minute sets, making sure to alternate the days when you target specific muscle groups to avoid strain.
Trim Your Thighs
Inner thighs can be stubborn spots to burn fat, so target the area directly with squats. For a basic squat, stand with feet hip-distance apart and toes pointing slightly out and opposite each other. Keeping your back straight and arms hanging, slowly lower your hips, bending at the knees. Only lower for two breaths, careful not to bend too deeply or to the point of knee pain. Hold the squat for one breath, then slowly straighten. Once you're back in a standing position, repeat. Do three sets of 10 reps.
Legs can be especially susceptible to exercise-related injuries. Problems such as shin splints, overextended joints, knee pain and stress fractures can derail your fitness plan for weeks or even months. To avoid injury, make sure you slowly increase the intensity of your workouts. Stretch after activities and about five to 10 minutes into intense cardio.