Fit Mommy: How to get and keep long and lean legs
Photo by Eva Johnson
My youngest son has taken to drawing family pictures, and I think they are absolutely adorable. I actually scanned one in so that you could see his artistry. I love that in his eyes, the important features of our bodies are heads and long legs. I can't say this isn't a great order of priority — after all, we have to have a head, and we need those legs for moving!
Since my son and most of us value our legs, I thought I would share some information about 1) the muscles of our legs and 2) how to tone up and make them look fantastic (keep reading if you want to hear about cellulite reduction, too).
The legs have a ton of muscles, so I will focus on the quadriceps and hamstrings for today.
Let's start with the quadriceps, located on the top of the thigh. They are called the quads for precisely that: They are four muscles, lumped into one muscle group. The names are long, but just to exercise my fingers, I will spell them out: rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and vastus lateralis. It is important to strengthen your quads with exercises like squats and leg extension machines so that you can properly support your knee joints. Without proper quad strength, your knees might start complaining during your next jog.
At the back of your thigh are the hamstrings. The hamstrings are made up of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. These act to flex your knee, like when you complete an aerobic hamstring curl. To work the hamstrings, I would recommend doing pelvic raises, also called bridges in yoga. Lay down on your back and bend your knees. Now, lift your pelvis up toward the sky, keeping a straight line between your shoulders and knees. Repeat, adding a weight to your pelvis as you get stronger.
So, you are doing all the squats and pelvic raises in the world and you still have cellulite. Yeah, that's a reality. Cellulite is mysterious in how it is caused, but it tends to mostly victimize women. It can be improved, but if even supermodels have it, you know it isn't easy to get rid of. The best way to combat this dimpling is to reduce overall body fat and keep strengthening those thighs. Forget the creams and weird treatments — just keep your legs healthy. Be patient and realize that most of us women have it. We're in this together!
Those legs are meant for walking — and showing off in thigh high boots. Keep 'em long and lean (just like the picture!)