5 Thigh-Thinning Exercises

What's the fastest route to slimmer thighs?  Overall weight loss. Genetics determines where fat gets stored on our bodies.  Some people carry it in their tummy, some in their thighs.  The only way to get rid of excess fat is the old fashioned way-increased exercise and decreased calorie intake.   If you're already at a healthy weight or just want better muscle tone in your thighs, try these five exercises for slimmer thighs.

1. Walk. Brisk walking uses all your leg muscles but especially targets your thighs.  Hit the treadmill, jogging trail, hiking trail or sidewalk for at least 30-minutes of fast-paced walking.  Add some hills or increase the incline level on the treadmill and gradually pick up the pace.  The further and longer you walk, the faster your thighs will start showing definition.

2. Squat. Nothing targets thigh muscles better than an old-fashioned squat.  Stand with your feet hip-width apart.  Tighten your abdominal muscles and extend your arms in front of you.  Bend your knees to 90 degrees. Return to standing and repeat 5-10 times.  Bump up the burn with 3-5 pound dumbbells.  Vary your routine by using an exercise ball. Place it behind your back against a wall and roll up and down into your squat position. If you have knee problems, go only as far as you can without pain and keep your hips above your knees

3. Lunge. Take giant steps to tight, toned thighs with lunges. Start in a standing position and take a "giant step" forward with your right leg.  Bring your left leg forward to a standing position and take another giant step, this time with your left leg.  Continue this exaggerated walking movement for 10 steps. Bump it up by grabbing your dumbbells.

4. Circles. Lie on your back with legs extended in front of you, arms at your sides.  Tighten your abs, point your toes, and slowly raise one leg at a time toward the ceiling.  Move your toe in small circles (as if you were tracing circles on the ceiling).  Do five circles clockwise then reverse and do five counter clockwise.  Switch legs.  Repeat five times.

5. Ball-Bridge. Lie on your back with both heels on an exercise ball and arms palm down on the floor at your side.  Pull your hips up (as if doing a bridge pose in yoga) and slowly roll the ball towards your hips.  Hold and roll it back.  Repeat 10 times.