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They are that part of the body that sets you in motion. They enable you to stand, walk, jump, kick and run. In other words, your legs work hard dutifully synchronizing with other organs of the body to produce the required action. Caring for legs is very easy. Leg exercise holds the key to having healthy legs...and healthy legs are stronger and better-looking legs.
Anatomy of legs
The leg or the lower limb includes the thigh, the knee and the cnemis. That part of the leg from the knee to the ankle is called the cenmis. While the back portion is called calf, the front portion is termed as the shin. The largest bone in the human body, the femur is in the leg. The legs represent the largest muscles in the body, muscles that are the fastest in the body to respond to training. Before you embark on leg training, it is important to choose an exercise targeted at each major muscle group. For, the leg is comprised of a group of muscles. Selecting the right leg exercises guarantees strengthening of leg muscles and tightening them too.
Benefits of leg exercises
Over a period of time, the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones in the knee is subject to deterioration. With the wearing down of the cushion, the joint doesn't function as well and causes pain in the knee. Ensuring stronger leg muscles through disciplined leg exercises can protect against knee osteoarthritis.
A disciplined leg exercise regime involves using tremendous amount of muscle mass. With the increased use of muscle mass during a workout, more calories are burnt. Also, selecting specific leg exercises can help gain some lean muscle on your legs. Gaining some lean muscle results in toning and tightening the legs as well as the butt.
Yet another advantage of adding some lean muscle on your legs is a marked increase in your body metabolism. It helps you to burn more fat off your entire body.
Regular leg exercises promote healthy legs and lower your risk of developing possible leg problems and extend cardiovascular benefits.
Make leg exercises an integral part of your lifestyle to reap long-term benefits. Strong, healthy legs do compliment your overall well being.
Boost leg health with leg exercises
Walk, run or jog: 10, 000 steps a day, running or jogging 30 minutes a day, the results are the same. It promotes a healthy weight; helps build bone and muscle mass.
Lunges: The lunge targets the butt muscles, especially the largest one called the gluteus maximus. Lunges can be done with or without weights. Beginners, can follow a lunge exercise program of 3 lunge exercises, 15 repetitions each leg- 2 cycles = 6 sets. You can try variations after you feel comfortable with the lunges. Variations include reverse lunge, forward lunge, inner thigh lunge, crossover lunges (front & reverse) and side-to-side lunges.
Stand with your feet apart (equivalent to your shoulder width)
Keep your torso erect, upright position.
Take a giant step forward with the right foot
Keep hands on your hips
Slowly lower your body straight down
Check if back legs forms a right angle at the knee
Put your leg muscles into action
Raise yourself slowly
Repeat the process.
Heel raises: This is aimed at the calf muscle. You can strengthen your leg muscle by consciously raising your heel anywhere, anytime.
Stand and keep your feet apart (wider than shoulder-width)
Place your hands on your hips
Raise your body up
You should be on your tiptoes
Hold this position for a few seconds
Lower back down gradually, slowly.
Relax and repeat three sets of 40 heel raises.
Squats: Primarily targeted at the quadriceps which makes up the front of the thigh, squats helps in developing excellent leg mass. A squat is a best exercise that can bring about desired changes in your hips, butt and thighs.
Hold on to a table or an immovable support or stand against a wall
Stand with feet apart
Squat like literally sitting on a chair
Keep back straight, knees bent and chest up
Don't go too low
Squeeze your butt and bring your body up
Repeat process, 2-3 sets, 10 repetitions each.
Include weights for quicker, better results.
Leg press exercise: Aimed at building the mass of the thighs, leg press exercise benefits the gluteus maximus, abductors, hamstrings and quadriceps muscles.
Take sitting position on a leg press machine
It helps to keep abdominal muscles tight, knees slightly bent and chest up
Lower the weight
Make sure that your knees do not move above your toes
Focus in splitting the weight between your hip joints and knee joints
Stop before the knees are in a complete straight position