healthy leg

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Healthy Leg

21. After Running
1. After a 3 5 minute cool down jog, stretch thoroughly. Dont just jump back into your car and head off to your next event, or you could be walking around with tight legs for the rest of the day. Doing a cool down and stretching period allows the lactic acid (the waste product created by your muscles) to be flushed out into your bloodstream and eliminated from your body.
2 . Take a hot bath or relax in a hot tub after your running workout if you can. Soaking your legs warms your muscles and relaxes them back into their normal shapes. A shower doesnt work as well, unfortunately, but its still good for your legs if a bath is out of the question.
3. Do leg drains by lying on your back with your legs extended vertically and feet propped against a wall for 3 4 minutes. This drains the blood out of your legs so fresh, clean blood can be pumped back into them when you stand up. You can do leg drains either immediately after stretching or after your bath. Either way, youll notice a markedly different pair of legs under you when you get up.
4. If youve just done a strenuous workout, one of your next two meals should be a solid protein meal, which helps your muscles rebuild themselves. Add a hearty green salad and fresh vegetables to replenish your system with valuable minerals.
5. Whether or not youre a regular runner, you should be drinking water all day long. Eight to ten glasses of water spread throughout the day will replenish the fluid lost to exercise. Dont drink your water all at once; just keep an even flow going.The more time you spend taking care of your body between runs, the more it will reward you with many years of enjoyable workouts. Youll also notice an increase in your performance levels. Its a universal law: the more preparation we put into something, the better the results.
22. Work Your Lower Half In Every Move
Your lower body is the easiest and quickest place to build calorie torching lean muscle. You have over 200 muscles below the belt, including the largest muscle in your body your gluteus maximus. So get off your glutes and get your lower body going in everything you do. Stand on one leg for shoulder presses or squat during biceps curls. The more you work your lower half, the faster youll see results. Need more ideas? Try this total body routine.
23. Get to the Core
Youve probably heard tons about core training and how important it is, but did you know that its impossible to work your core without also engaging your legs? Skip standard crunches and speed up your results with core training. Try this routine to work your core and legs.
24. Start Left
Work your weaker side first which is the left side for many of us, says Michele Olson, PhD, creator of the Perfect Legs, Glutes & Abs DVD. When you are fresh, you use better form and tend to do more reps. If you always work your weaker (or left side) last, such as with lunges, you may be unconsciously keeping your stronger side stronger and not giving your weaker side the extra attention it deserves.
25. Lunge like a Ballerina
Lunges is one of the best leg toning exercises, but this ballet inspired lunge will shape those legs in half the time, says Laurie Alfano, Director of Education for Xtend Barre in Boca Raton, Florida. To do it: put one leg forward and one back, making sure both heels are on the ground. Lift both heels up off the floor and then lunge down. Do 10 small pulses (raising up and down a few inches in each direction) before switching legs. Be sure to keep your chest lifted and abs in and if you need frontal support, grab a ballet barre or chair. This short stance lunge en releve (on the balls of the feet) will work the thighs, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
26. Get Off the Ground
Get off the ground and let your results take flight, says Alex Figueroa, a certified personal training consultant. Figueroa suggests taking your typical leg routine to the next level with plyometric (or power) moves like squat jumps or single leg lateral ski hops. Get your form down first with a well executed squat, and then progress up, literally, to the plyometric version of just about any leg exercise.
27. Combine Strength and Power
To build lean and strong legs, you need a mix of strength and power, which will also help you to burn more calories faster, says Marta Montenegro, an exercise physiologist in Miami, Florida. Perform a lunge around the clock (starting at 6 and ending at 10, which is a side lunge), and do 3 sets of 12 15 reps and right after that, do split jumps (no weight, switching the leg position every time you land for 15 counts) to fully engage all the muscle fibers.
28. Go the Distance With Your Cardio
Women may need to incorporate more long, low moderate cardio activities since the fat in the hips (pear shape) is harder to melt than around the abdominal area (apple shape). If you need to focus on your legs more than the waist, dont forget to do 45 to 60 minutes cardiovascular exercise, explains Montenegro.
29. Skip the Ankle Weights
Before you strap on those ankle weights in hopes of slimmer thighs, consider this: they may cause excess stress on your ankles, knee and hips joints, strain your ligaments or even cause muscular imbalances. Bottom line the risks of wearing ankle weights outweigh the benefits. Save walking for cardio, and focus on your strength training with weights another time.If you want to add intensity to your walks, try using walking poles or a weighted vest (which concentrates the extra weight where your body can support it better).
30. Put Your Legs to Work to Get to Work
Speed up your results, save money, and help the environment by using your legs to commute to work. If you live close enough, you can walk, bike, rollerblade or even use a Street Rider to get work. A 30 minute active commute to and from work each day could add up to an extra 500 calories burned each day. Thats about 3 pounds lost in a month!

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