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Toning Your Body -- and Your Thighs

Tips for Slimmer Hips

WebMD Feature

For many people -- particularly women -- hips and thighs are trouble spots. Efforts to achieve slim, trim thighs can seem futile, especially since exercise and diet won't necessarily reduce fat in the places you'd like. Though you target your stomach, the excess fat may come off your bottom, or vice versa. Still, dedication to exercise combined with good nutrition will trim fat throughout your body and help you tone all over, including your thighs.

Cardiovascular and Aerobic Exercise

Not only does aerobic exercise keep your heart and mind strong, but it can also help to make hips and legs more shapely and stronger. Exercise can't change your DNA; it can only do so much to counteract a genetic disposition to, say, cellulite or a particular leg and hip shape. But a good sweat will keep you healthier and firm up whatever you have inherited from your parents.

 

Try weight-bearing forms of aerobic exercise such as running, jogging, and brisk walking. If you can't do weight-bearing exercises, the stationary bicycle may suffice. Aim for at least three sessions of 20 minutes or more of aerobic exercise each week, according to the American Council on Exercise. If you're going after long-term weight control, work your way up to at least four sessions of 45 minutes of activity each week. And seek out opportunities for physical activity throughout the day: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk or bicycle to work instead of driving.

Strength Training

Many women trying to trim down shy away from strength training because they fear they will "bulk up" -- exactly the opposite of what they want. But unless you are eating a very high-calorie diet, bulking up -- which requires heavy weight-lifting -- is unlikely. The benefits of strength training for hips and thighs are twofold: Your legs will look and feel more toned and shapely. You will be stronger so that aerobic exercise, as well as daily physical activities, will be easier and more fun.

 

Strength training is a type of weight training that emphasizes low weights and high reps, as opposed to the "bulk-up" type of weightlifting. Strength training helps to burn calories more effectively, enabling you to trim body fat. In addition, you'll burn more calories during your aerobic workout and even when you're sleeping because you have more muscle, which is metabolically active.

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