Do you dread the moment when it’s time to reveal your legs after a winter in hibernation? Emily Pettit-Coetzee uncovers the best ways to ensure your legs are ready and raring to go this summer.
For most of us the excitement of a coming summer is tinged with some trepidation. The thought of dragging one’s reluctant body out of the dark cave of wool and denim is more than a little daunting. And nothing provides more apprehension than the unveiling of the legs! So this summer it’s time to ensure the legs are pimped, primed and ready for maximum exposure.
STEP ONE, EXFOLIATE
A weekly exfoliation is vital to increase circulation and remove dead skin cells, making way for new cells to surface and giving skin a healthy glow. The best time to exfoliate legs is during a warm bath or shower. Move a sponge or loofah in circular movements all over your legs, at least once a week.
If you want to try a natural option, massage legs with a mixture of honey and salt. Use on damp skin and massage in until the salt dissolves.
The honey gives your skin a warm glow and the salt will gently exfoliate. You can also try a sugar body scrub, containing equal parts of brown sugar, oats and then add a few drops of lemon juice and honey. Delicious and your legs will love it!
MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE
The importance of moisturizing can never be over-emphasized and it’s the key to beautiful, summer legs. Choose a rich one that contains at least an SPF15, so your skin is protected from the sun’s harsh rays. Summer also means that you will be shaving or waxing more frequently and this can contribute to dryness. Make sure you moisturize immediately after shaving, as this helps prevent irritation and shaving rash. Use a fragrance-free lotion if you are prone to sensitivity and avoid exposing your limbs to the sun directly after shaving or waxing.
DIMINISH SPIDER VEINS
You might feel embarrassed to show off your legs because of visible spider or varicose veins. But don’t resign yourself to a lifetime of stockings just yet. Reduce their appearance with a few subtle and easy lifestyle changes!
• Protect yourself from the sun – UV damage can make them appear worse.
• Exercise regularly – walking, swimming, running, tennis and running up and down the stairs are all great options to increase circulation in your legs.
• Don’t cross your legs – this also prevents proper circulation and can cut off blood flow to the legs.
• Relax and put your feet up – aid circulation by grabbing a magazine and a drink and elevating your legs above your hips.
• Give your killer heels a break – they might look fantastic, but they don’t do much for you leg veins. Try not to wear them for long periods at a time.
• Take a vitamin C supplement – it improves blood flow and can help prevent varicose and spider veins.
The dreaded orange peels skin affects up to 90 percent of women. Only surgery can get rid of it completely, but there are ways to decrease the lumps and bumps. Exfoliation and massage stimulates circulation and reduces water retention, and drinking plenty of H20 flushes out toxins. It also helps to cut down on sugar, nicotine and caffeine.
Exercise is vital, because cellulite is basically trapped fat, sculpting and toning helps burn some of this fat by building muscle. All anti-cellulite creams claim to break down the fat cells that cause cellulite, but they need to be used in conjunction with a healthy diet, exercise, drinking loads of water and massaging the affected area as often as possible. Look for a cream that contains anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, as these aid blood flow, as well as collagen, which is a natural protein that boosts firming and toning.
The effect of cellulite creams varies from body to body, so be patient, they can take anywhere between three to 15 weeks to make any noticeable difference.
TONING AND SCULPTING
Get your legs skirt worthy at Miss Fit Academy. Our Luscious Legs & Abs class focuses on two areas that are often problematic for women – legs and abs. You will spend an hour toning and sculpting your core and reducing cellulite. Exercises include various types of lunges, stretching and lengthening, plies, hip abductors and more. Classes are held weekly. Sign up online.
Author: Emily Pettit-Coetzee, ClubCard Magazine issue 5 2010