Move - March 1, 2016
All About Legs
It’s the other half—your lower half—that’s the focus of the specialty Body Basics Class‡ at Curves. Make this class a regular part of your workout routine and you’ll love the look of your toned, shapely legs and, more importantly, their power. Here’s why.
Great Legs Are a Lot of Fun
Your lower half houses the biggest and most powerful muscles in your body and for good reason. They support your entire body, play a key role in balance, and they propel you forward, backward, and sideways when you walk, run, hop, jump, play sports, whatever you might do on one or two feet.
Strong legs improve your life in so many ways, making it easier to climb and descend stairs, sit down or get up from a chair, take long walks or hikes in the woods, run a 5K, 10K or even a half-marathon. They cycle you up hills on your bike, propel you down the pool when you swim, and keep you going on the dance floor all night long. And that’s just a fraction of the fun you can have.
Strong, Flexible Leg Muscles Help Prevent Pain
Yes, that’s right—fit leg muscles can help prevent knee and back pain, the two most common complaints. Here’s how.
Your quadriceps (quads)—the group of muscles that make up the front of your thigh—run from your pelvis down to your knee, attaching at the top of your shinbone. They provide support and stability to your knee, which helps prevent injury that might occur with activity if your knee is weak or unstable. And if you have arthritis in your knee joint, strengthening your quads can take some of the stress off your joint and help relieve pain.
As for back pain, the muscles in your lower back are indirectly connected to your hamstrings—the muscles at the back of your thigh—through your glutes—the muscles in your butt. This sets you up for a sort of chain reaction: Your hamstrings work with your glutes, which in turn support your lower back muscles in providing stability to your body. When your hamstrings are weak more of the work of stabilizing your body falls to your glutes and lower back. Tight hamstrings can also cause problems by pulling your pelvis out of optimal alignment and putting more stress on your lower back. Keep your hamstrings strong and flexible with the Body Basics Class, and they and you will be happy.
The Body Basics Class
Here’s how it works: You’ll do the usual Circuit, traveling from resistance machine to resistance machine and between each machine, you’ll do 30 seconds of a functional strength move that targets the muscles in your arms, core and legs. The whole class is still 30 minutes but with extra work for your major muscle groups. And be sure to follow up with the cool-down stretch--balanced flexibility throughout your body is important to healthy muscles and full range of motion.
Mark your calendar with the Body Basics Class and get ready to kick up your heels!