I know—your thighs are the place where all your guilty food pleasures love to hang out. Whenever I over-indulge—usually by eating too much dessert—I see the results in my thighs. The backs of my thighs begin to lose their smoothness as the hints of cellulite threaten to turn them into “cottage cheese.” When my jeans feel too tight, I know I need to cut back on desserts and step up my workouts. In just 2 weeks, the backs of my thighs resume their smooth, toned appearance and my jeans feel roomy again.

Many women find long, lean sexy legs hard to get. One reason is that before menopause, most of us store a disproportionate amount of fat in our lower bodies, particularly in our hips and thighs. Thousands of years ago, excess hip, butt, and thigh fat served an important purpose. During drought and long winters, women burned this fat to fuel both pregnancy and lactation. Women with more lower body fat tended to survive harsh conditions and consequently passed on their genes to their children, whereas women with more slender proportions did not.

In modern times, we no longer need this fat reserve because we have plenty of food. Unfortunately, our bodies simply haven’t caught up with the times.

Not to worry. These exercises will firm your body’s largest muscle group and give you sleeker legs.
Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps on each leg, 2 or 3 times a week (be sure to sneak a rest day between workouts).

Single-leg squat

The Single-Leg Squat - YouTube

A. Standing with your feet together and arms by your sides, shift your weight onto your right foot. Rest the toe of your left foot next to your right foot for balance. Don’t let the knee of your squatting leg extend past your toes
B. Keeping your back straight, bend at your hips and knees, and slowly sit back onto your right leg, raising your arms straight in front of you as you lower. Stop when your thighs are almost parallel to the floor, and hold for a second. Then press into your right foot through the heel and stand back up.

Double-leg lift

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A. Lie on your left side with your legs stacked on top of each other. Prop yourself up on your left elbow. Rest the fingertips of your right hand in front of you for balance.
B. Raise your right leg about 12 inches (not shown), then slowly raise your left leg to meet it. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower each leg separately and repeat. Don’t… roll your hips too far forward or backward

Lean leg stretch

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Standing in front of a chair, raise your arms overhead, slowly bend forward at your hips, and rest your hands on the back of the chair. Keep your back flat, and lift your buttocks toward the ceiling so you feel a stretch down the back of your legs. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat once.