Think about it. Your legs are your foundation. You stand on them. They get you around. All day long they are moving the rest of you. Fast or slow. Up and down.
Exercising your legs is key to exercising the rest of you. Experts talk about strengthening the core. But when it comes to the core part of you for getting around, your legs are it!
That’s why the core of our family fitness program is developing leg strength. (And interestingly enough, many of the ways you strengthen your legs involve your core as well).
As we’ve focused on strengthening and conditioning our legs we’ve broken through to a whole other level in enjoying soccer, biking, hiking, running, skiing, snowboarding and so much more.
But here’s another angle – especially for you if you’re just getting back to activity. Many people talk about losing weight to gain energy. But sometimes it’s so hard to get going with a walking routine, let alone jogging. If you strengthen your legs, you’ll be able to move more . . . and move more easily. Stronger legs will get you into fitness activities that much faster and more effectively.
Not only that, when you build your muscles in your legs, you protect your ligaments and tendons and joints. Your muscles hold your knees firmly in a strong embrace. And those troublesome hips that begin to "act up" with age, learn to relax into the muscular sling that shapes them. Stronger legs means fewer injuries.
And it’s not just the physical protection you gain from stronger legs, it’s the mental. You don’t notice it, but the strain of moving a top-heavy body on weak legs causes pain and fatigue that builds up until by the end of the day all you want is a couch.
But with stronger legs, you come home ready to keep going. My husband should know. As a carpenter and handyman, he’s on his feet all day, up and down ladders. When he started focusing on building his leg strength, the weariness he had to overcome at the end of each day in order to go biking or running disappeared. An end-of-the-day basketball game was no longer an act of will.
So one of the first steps for losing weight and getting active should be strengthening your legs.
Squats, free-weight squats, squat jumps . . . but most of all our bench jumps have all helped us build our legs and lay the foundation for being active.
And if you need any more confirmation that this is one of the essentials for activity, watch little kids.
Notice how they thrill in jumping off of things and jumping over and up? Instinctively our legs want to jump.
So get jumping, build your legs and get moving.
You’ll move yourself on fast forward into better fitness. And keep moving long into your future.