• If you primarily run or do elliptical, get on your bike or try a spin class. It uses similar muscles in different ways, and also is a little easier on the joints.
• If you primarily cycle, mix it up with a walk or run for a week.
• Hike! No matter your regular workout routine, I’m always an advocate for a good hike. Hills and obstacles like climbing over rocks and trees and intensity to the walk, and work the front and back of the thigh, the glutes, and to some degree abductors and adductors (they help stabilize the leg especially over uneven terrain).
Not to mention, it’s also beautiful, gets you fresh air and is fun that happens to also be exercise. Do it alone for a little solitude, or replace ‘dinner and drinks with a friend’ with ‘hike and light picnic’ for an extra savings of calories!
Mix up Your Cardio …
• Tennis, especially singles, or just hitting back and forth with a friend is great for the legs. Tennis activity is interval based with quick bursts of speed followed by active recovery. Also with forward, backward and side to side motions of tennis you engage all of the hip, leg and butt muscles.
• Swimming is great low impact cardio that’s relatively easy on the joints and does involve the legs and butt for both a flutter kick and frog kick. For butt & thigh toning I generally recommend cardio exercises where you’re on your feet or primarily using lower body, however, with some modification, swimming is also a good option. To increase the lower body impact, get a kickboard and kick several laps!
Resistance Training Options You Can Do Anywhere:
If you primarily use weight machines in the gym (leg press for squats, hamstring curls for hamstrings and glutes, leg extensions for quads, and the abductor/ tor/addu machine for inner and outer thigh) try doing somebody weight-based exercises alone or with resistance props like bands or dumbbells.
I’m a big fan of resistance tubing (for info on resistance props as its low cost, easy to carry and gives a great toning workout.
There are many benefits to free-standing exercises including:
• Freestanding exercises better replicate movements we do in daily living and in sports.
• They tend to work multiple muscles or muscle groups at one time vs. isolating a muscle or muscle group as most machines do.
• They require little or no equipment so can be done almost anywhere and anytime. (Yeah!)
• They are cheap! Little or no equipment is required
One perfect and simple free standing exercise is lunges. A classic standing lunge works the quads, hamstring and glutes while at the same time. When done correctly, lunges activate the abs/core and use the abductors and adductors for stability. If you play racquet sports, volleyball, ski or just pick up after your kids you are utilizing lunge like movements.
The bottom line (pun intended) for best results:
—Mix up your workouts.
—Try something different!
—Keep it fresh and fun and you’ll get better results and stick with it over time!