Walk your way to beautiful legs!
What do Kelly Brook, Heidi Klum and Elle Macpherson have in common? Beautiful legs! And it’s all thanks to … walking. Combined with good posture, it can make your pins look toned and slimmer, just in time for Summer!
Walking is one of the most basic aerobic exercises you can do, and done right, it can have maximum effect for minimum effort! It’s not only something that we all do everyday but it’s also completely free!
Medical research, from the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that 30-60 minutes of brisk walking per day is enough to start your journey towards stronger and slimmer legs.
We asked our experts how to walk your way to beautiful legs. Ready…steady…go!
Start from stretching
Before walking your way to your perfect pins, it is advisable to stretch out your muscles and do a couple of flexibility exercises. A perfect way to do this is with a Pilates sequence or two, which will also help you get long and lean legs for Summer.
Lynne Robinson, Pilates guru and founder of Body Control Pilates (to find a teacher near you go to www.bodycontrolpilates.com) says, “Pilates exercises should always be performed with fluidity and grace – flowing movements, controlled and lengthening outwards from a strong centre. You will learn to control the articulation of your spine through flexion, extension, side flexion and rotation, to move the spine bone by bone. Similarly, you will be mobilising your joints, taking them through their normal range of movement. The end result is healthier joints. Your muscles will be longer and stronger as they are taken through their entire range.”
Don’t forget about your feet
You can easily strain the muscles in your feet during any form of exercise, as well as by just walking around. Dave Wain, Carnation Footcare Podiatrist (www.carnationfootcare.co.uk) explains how, “Try and spend five minutes each day doing some foot exercises and stretching out the muscles of your arches. Try scrunching a piece of paper with your toes for two minutes, rolling a tennis ball under your feet and standing on your tip toes for minutes in the morning or before you go to bed. You can also use Carnation’s PediRoller (£9.99, Boots). Put in the freezer before use for an extra anti-inflammatory effect.”
Keep your pins healthy
Don’t want to show your legs because of varicose veins? Don’t worry, you are not alone! This condition affects 1 in 3 women in the UK!
Kimby Osborne, Activa Healthcare’s leg health expert, explains how to help prevent varicose veins:
“Varicose veins can be extremely painful, as well as unsightly. Although varicose veins is not regarded as a particularly dangerous problem, it’s not something that a lot of us feel confident about, particularly during the Summer months, when skirt and shorts season is upon us.
“Wearing compression socks and stockings can help prevent varicose veins, particularly in the early stages when there may be no outward symptoms, but there could be a feeling of heaviness and general aching sensation in the legs. Compression support socks and stockings look just like regular socks and stockings and can be worn by everyone. Surprisingly, your legs will feel cooler when wearing compression hosiery than not, as the hosiery will help improve your circulation and help prevent swelling of feet and ankles which is often associated with hot weather and circulatory problems.
“If you do unfortunately suffer from varicose veins, try not to stand or sit for too long a period of time, put your feet up when you can and try and exercise as much as possible to help boost your circulation.”
For further information visit Activa’s website: http://www.activahealthcare.co.uk/varicose-veins-in-pregnancy/
No more orange peel!
Cellulite is a common worry amongst women of all ages and can dent your confidence. Everyone wants to get their legs out for the warmer weather, so we asked Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com the online shopping destination for health & wellbeing how to tackle the dreaded orange peel.
“For some, cellulite may seem to come and go, but may seem more obvious when you don’t move as much. It’s important to keep your lymphatic fluid moving to support the clearance of waste in the body. Unlike your blood, which is pumped by your heart, your lymph has no such ‘pump’ and is stimulated by physical movement instead.
“Smoothies that contain fruit and vegetables have a natural diuretic action. Use a base of one glass of unsweetened (not from concentrate) apple juice and blend with two sticks of celery, a handful of watercress leaves and half a cucumber. Add a pinch of cayenne powder to increase circulation. Herbs like cleavers may also support the lymphatic system.
“And don’t forget about water! Drink 1 ½ to 2 litres of water a day, cut down on tea and coffee and avoid refined sugar, junk food and fried food. You could also buy a skin brush and do a full-body dry skin brush before your shower or bath each day.”
However, according to Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.marilynglenville.com) there may be a link between hormonal imbalances and increased cellulite and body fat. “If you suffer from PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome, of which symptoms include mood swings, period pain, heavy periods, feeling down before your period, craving sweet foods) you may want to consider natural hormone support. Vitamin B6 is important for female hormone balancing and the herb agnus castus is an excellent herb with proven action for supporting symptoms of premenstrual tension.”