With the weather warming up, you might be looking longingly at skirts ready to show some skin again. However, if you have indulged too much in lazy winter evenings in front of the TV with bags of sweets in your hands, chances are your legs are not ready to be shown off, yet.
Don’t despair! Although getting back the shape you used to have in your 20s is not always achievable, it’s still possible to get your lower body ready again for the good season: all you need is the right dose of motivation and the ability to train your muscles with the right exercises.
Depending on the outcome you want to achieve, training can be as simple as walking instead of taking public transport, climbing up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or taking the dog out for a 20-minute walk every morning. For faster results, you may take on more intense exercise programs such as cycling, jogging, or tennis. All of these exercises work to tone and shape your legs reducing fat, increasing muscle tone, greater finesse and elasticity.
However, before jumping into a strength-training program, it’s better to be aware of what’s best for your body. As you age, connective tissues around your joints become less elastic, making many movements less comfortable and a bit harder on your body than they used to be. These two factors will affect the exercises and intensity when selecting the best workouts to tone your legs and butt.
‘Body by Fleur‘ the latest fitness program inspired by skating and created by former Olympic skater Fleur Maxwell, might be a good option. It’s a transformational full-body fitness method that promises “longevity at any stage of your life“. Fleurs’ motto? Strengthen gracefully.
Especially at midlife, working on your legs is super important. Not only because it will make them look great, but also because training the muscles of your lower body will help to achieve more flexibility, making it easier to perform your daily activities and cutting down the risk of injury. Also, it will increase your range of motion and correct your posture.
‘Body By Fleur’ method seems to tick all the boxes: it proposes a holistic approach, which also allows you to work on flexibility, coordination and balance with a low impact on the joints. The end result is designed to achieve a toned, graceful and lean body without the bulk.
This method is not only personal to me, but it’s become my lifestyle. It gave me movement when my mobility was limited, balance when I lacked stability and grace when all I did was stumble – explains the former Olympic skater who has been forced to end her 20-year career after invasive hip surgery- . Most importantly, it gave me hope for a better future. I realized that with enough perseverance, hope and drive, I could craft my own path“.
Sculpting with grace
’Body By Fleur’ exercises come from classical dance, pilates, yoga and cardio-dance.
Many of the movements for the lower body are done with the hips turned outward and using light ankle weights – she says-. That’s the secret of my method of transforming the body. Stimulating every single muscle, even the smallest ones, means making the silhouette very curvy and sweating without the need to do the classic cardio.
The program is meant for every type of body and incorporates booty-burning and leg-toning Pilates postures—such as lunges, leg lifts and powerful stretches—that will leave you looking and feeling your best. In particular, it focuses on different inclinations of the hips with different speeds and the help of one or two kilos anklets to sculpt your bottom.
With one elbow on the floor and the opposite leg back, or with the hip and side leg, you can throw your legs in different directions, always with the foot pointed – Fleur Maxwell explains to Vogue-. Another exercise I like is the fold with the toes turned outward to urge the glutes and adductors. The resistance bands are also fantastic for toning and sculpting the butt and legs.
Maxwell’s signature group class, which combines dance and sculpting moves, is on Zoom and now free on Instagram Live a couple of times a week via her @bodybyfleur account. It only requires a yoga mat, light weights and a squishy ball.