Women's health * Healthy living

Winter leggings, summer flab?

Winter leggings, summer flab? May make muscles lazy...

Most women have some. They can make you look slimmer, hold some of the wobbly bits in place, cover unwaxed legs and even hide the odd varicose vein. And they are even comfy. Yes, we're talking leggings.

However, come the summer months, some of us may live to regret wearing them all winter long, says physiotherapist Sammy Margo.

Leggings can make your muscles lazy, leading to less toned legs and flabbier stomachs, as they have been doing some of the muscles' work for them. Think of it as giving your muscles a bit of a winter break.

Ms Margo said: "Leggings feel good and look great and I am as addicted to them as anyone, but there is a downside.

"They hold in and support the quadriceps (thigh muscles), buttocks and core muscles in your tummy, and do the job the muscles are supposed to do.

"As a result, the muscles are allowed to relax and switch off, so when we reveal our bodies for the first time as summer approaches, they are not as svelte or firm as they otherwise would be."

To prevent this from happening, the registered physiotherapist advises women to wear ankle weights at home during the winter months. You can also try to work your tummy and buttock muscles during the day. Hold your stomach muscles in, then release them half way and hold before relaxing.

As we tend to get outside less and become more sedentary during winter, it's even more important to incorporate more physical activity into our daily routine; take the stairs at work, walk to the tube or train station and try to get out and about during your lunch break.

This article was published on Wed 11 May 2011

Image © NatUlrich - Fotolia.com

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