You may be wondering ‘does running make your legs skinnier?’ This is a common question and one which is up for debate. You can definitely achieve slimmer legs by running, but it can also have the opposite effect and lead to more muscular and bulky legs.
If your legs are larger than you would like because of excess fat being stored in them, then exercise will truly help make them look and feel slimmer. It is important to remember that there are zero available exercises that are able to spot-reduce fat, so to achieve skinnier legs you are going to need to slim down all over.
Running will help you burn fat and calories from all over the body, which is great as it will help keep you in proportion. There are also the added benefits that running provides, such as great general health and well being, toning and conditioning of the leg and glute muscles, along with your core muscles, and a slimmer, more toned physique.
You will also need to take what you put into your body into account, as what you eat can determine how much fat you store or burn and your overall intensity required to lose fat. Taking care of both diet and exercise can lead to skinnier legs, a slimmer stomach, and more of a fit and firm appearance.
Burning Calories With Running
Running is well known for being one of the finest exercises for burning calories fast, this is mainly due to a high amount of exertion required to perform the activity. It is also a great way to slim down and eliminate that excess body fat, which leads to your legs being thicker than you would like.
As an example, a 160 lb person who runs at 5 mph for 60 minutes can burn 605 calories, this is the equivalent of a McDonald’s Big Mac Meal and a large coke. If you up the intensity to 9 mph, then over the course of 60 minutes you would burn an average of 1089 calories! This is more than half the amount of the recommended daily calorie allowance for women.
When you realize that a single pound of body fat consists of 3500 calories, you will be well on your way to melting that fat away. Typically, the resting metabolic rate of the typical woman is 2000 calories a day. This is how many calories she will burn just performing her normal bodily functions, such as breathing, keeping the heart beating, and controlling the central nervous system, along with the very light activity.
So, if you were to be on a calorie-restricted diet, of say, 1800 calories a day then you would be deficit by 200 calories. Add on the 1089 calories burned by that 60-minute run and you have a combined deficit of 1289 calories each day. Over the course of 7 days, you would burn a whopping 9023 calories, the equivalent of burning 2.5 lbs of body fat.
Running Tones The Thighs
When you go for a run, you primarily engage the hamstrings to the rear of the leg, the quadriceps to the front, the glutes in the buttocks, and the core muscles and hip flexors. The more you activate and engage these muscles, the more toned and defined they will come. Toning helps tighten and strengthen the muscles, therefore dulling them in.
This can help pull in the skin covering them too, thus creating a slimmer and tighter look and feel.
You will find that running helps to increase your health and fitness levels, improve your endurance and stamina, and improve your posture. Ensuring you involve all of the major lower body muscles will create harmony among them when it comes to size and strength, which ultimately helps you avoid injury or physical imbalances when working out.
Developing A Running Routine for Skinnier Legs
If you are looking for ways on how to get skinnier legs without building muscle, then you will need to ensure that your running is more cardio focused than strength training. Strength training with running would be running on an incline while carrying a weighted backpack. This will place more force on your muscles, thus lead to an increase in size and strength.
If you are new to running, take it easy for the first few days. You do not want to injure yourself or be in pain. If you experience pain after running, then you need to take it down a notch. Always begin with a minimum of 5-minutes warming up. Perform a gentle walk with lots of stretching to loosen up the muscles and increase blood flow.
After the 5-minutes are up, begin to jog for 5-minutes and then slow it down again. Repeat this over the course of 60-minutes. Over the following days, increase this to a 10-minute jog and a 5-minute rest, and then to 15-minutes jogging with a 5-minute rest. Once you are able to jog consistently for 20-minutes without losing your breath, you will be ready to go for the full hour.
You will feel sore after running in the beginning, but you should never experience pain. Stick to level surfaces and avoid uphill running. The idea is to elevate the heart rate to burn calories while avoiding causing micro-tears of the muscles, which will repair themselves and lead to larger muscle mass. Cool down with a 5-minute walk and stretching after each run and enjoy a good 20-minute soak in the tub to increase blood flow to the muscles.
Final thoughts on Running for Skinnier Legs
Remember that cardio is your friend when aiming for slimmer and more toned legs. Be mindful of what you put into your body, but never go below 1600 calories a day. If you don’t consume adequate calories then your body will begin to break down your muscle for energy. While in the short term this is perfectly OK, it is important to remember that the heart is also a muscle, so anything that can weaken it is not advisable.
With a dedicated running plan built up over a period of a month or so, you will notice your thighs begin to shrink. This won’t happen overnight, but it will happen as long as you avoid strength training in the leg area and focus your energy on cardio.