Life Tips Magazine surveys about what men and women find attractive in the opposite sex are common. At the top of most, for both men and women, is taut and shapely hips and thighs.
These popular magazines are read by millions of people every week, and they play a strong role in influencing the way people think. They usually send out an old-fashioned idea, isolate a muscle in a problem area and repeatedly exercise it until the muscle burns with overuse and fatigue, then keep doing this until you've done yourself some serious injury or you just give up because it doesn't work.
What does influence the shape of your butt and thighs?
GENETICS: Your basic body shape is determined by your genetic programming. Nothing you can do can alter this genetic body shape. However, your lifestyle can modify this. If you think your hips and thighs are out of proportion to the rest of your body then you can do two things.
You can reduce the amount of fat stored in that area to reduce the overall size of the thighs. Or you can exercise your upper body to give it some shape, size and definition. Both of these will make your hips look in better proportion to the rest of your body.
FAT: Cellulite, dimples, baby fat, problem area. Call it what you like, it basically comes down to the fact that the hips and thighs are usually where your body stores much of its reserve of energy as fat cells in adipose tissue, so these areas are fatter than other areas of the body.
If your diet has lots of energy and you don't exercise to use it up, then you'll get fatter. If you reduce the amount of energy in your food and increase your amount of activity and exercise, then you'll get leaner. This is called the principle of energy balance. It sounds simple, but in practice it's hard to resist the call of the chocolate bar and it's easy to make up excuses for missing an exercise session.
Exercises that utilize the aerobic energy system and involve a large number of muscles of the hips and thighs will go a long way towards reducing the level of fat stored in adipose tissue. Activities that are suitable include walking, whether out in the fresh air or on a treadmill in the gym; stepping on a step machine in the gym or in a step class; running for the young, keen and already fit; swimming or using a kickboard; rowing on the lake or on a machine in the gym; playing a field sport with lots of moving around; and cycling.
The aerobic activity needs to be continuous, not stop and start. You don't have to be going at the same speed all the time, but you need to keep moving for a minimum of 30 minutes.
The 40 minute session can include a variety of activities from the list above. For example, triathletes swim, cycle and run. This makes each session more interesting and helps prevent developing overuse injuries.
SIZE: The size of the muscle that fills up the space in your body between the fat under your skin and your skeleton is related to two factors: the amount of muscle tissue and the amount of muscle tone.
Muscle tissue growth is stimulated by endurance activities that regularly strain the connective tissue inside the muscle. Old fashioned leg raises will not reduce the underlying fat, and will even stimulate the muscles involved to get bigger. Avoid them if your aim is to reduce the size of your thighs.
On the other hand, regular aerobic activity will cause muscle connective tissue to reduce in size. So the aerobic exercise we mentioned above will not only reduce fat levels, it will give smaller, efficient muscles.
Muscle tone is the amount of tension in a muscle when it is at rest. This muscle tension, or muscle tone, is related to the total volume of work undertaken by that particular muscle on a regular basis. Once again, higher intensity aerobic exercise will increase muscle tone while reducing body fat levels and giving more efficient muscles.
STRENGTH: Strength training will give increases in specific muscle strength and size. However, as strength training involves exercising a muscle to total fatigue, the small supporting muscles can be damaged through overuse.
Many of the exercise prescribed by instructors or gym programmers are thinly disguised adaptations of strength exercises. If you want strong thighs, or need them for playing or sport or for work, or you have an injury that has caused muscle wastage in size and strength, then get in the gym and try out all those exercises based around machines such as the leg extension, squat, hip flexor, total hip, abductor/ adductor, leg curl, or smith stand.