How to Get Toned Legs (No Running Required!)

Article posted in: Lifestyle HealthyHowTo
Women's legs on the beach

If you are in pursuit of toned legs but dread the idea of running, rest easy knowing that there’s a multitude of other exercises to get you in tiptop toned shape. The perks of strong, fit legs go further than just your appearance, as they are crucial to mobility and injury prevention, especially as we age. The all-star exercises below effectively target specific muscle groups to give you a strong, stable lower body. Since it’s almost time for your legs to make their summer debut, this is the perfect opportunity to get your gams in shape.

Before you jump in to the new exercise routine, always consult with your doctor. And remember to stretch the utilized muscle groups before and after working out. Here’s how to get toned legs without running a single mile:

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Calf Raises
This move targets the lower back leg muscle, AKA the calf, by lifting and lowering your heels (pausing at the top on your tippy-toes) with your legs hip width distance apart. For balance assistance, have something to hold on to like a chair or railing.

This workout rockstar tones your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and abs all in one move. It can be performed in a multitude of options including the forward lunge, rear lunge, and walking lunge, alternating each leg as you go. Keep your core engaged by tightening your abs to aid with balance. Always position your front lunging leg at a 90 degree angle with the knee directly above the ankle to avoid injury while the back leg grazes the floor at the knee.

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Just like lunges, this move works the entire lower body including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. For a classic squat, keep your legs hip width distance apart with your feet facing forward. For a ballet-inspired twist meant to involve your glutes from a different angle, widen your stance slightly and angle your feet out on a diagonal. Keep your chest upright when sitting into the squat to avoid knee and back injury.

Leg Lifts
Through the different variations these exercises tone your outer thighs, glutes, and quads. Hold on to a chair or railing for balance. Keep your pelvis tucked in, abs tight, and chest upright. Lift straight leg with a flexed foot to the front for quads and to the side for glutes. Lift leg to the back with a bent knee for glutes and hamstrings.

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Walking is a great low-impact exercise that will gradually tone your legs while also giving you a cardio boost. Wear supportive shoes and keep a brisk pace.

If you are looking for a low intensity, highly targeted activity to tone your legs, pilates is an excellent exercise to get involved with. Take a beginners class to learn proper form from an expert to achieve long and lean muscles and a tight and strong core.