What Is the Easiest Exercise to Lose Inches on Thighs & Hips?

Losing inches on your thighs and hips isn’t an easy task, although there are a number of exercises that can help tone and build muscle in the two areas. You can’t spot reduce, so to lose inches in your legs and butt, you need to lose weight overall through a mix of cardio exercises and resistance training. Thankfully, muscle has a more compact appearance than fat, so toning your thighs and hips will not only help you lose weight overall, but it can make your lower body appear more slender.

Running for Thin Thighs and Slender Hips

According to Columbia University, distance running is one of the most effective exercises for reducing thigh size. While the size of your hips and thighs is determined to some extent by your genetics, distance running is known for building long, lean muscle in your legs. As a cardio exercise, it is also good at burning calories, helping you lose weight. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week to maintain your current weight and fitness level. To lose weight, you may need to increase your cardio to 45 to 60 minutes a day, five days a week.

An Oldie But Goodie -- The Squat With Pulses

The basic squat is excellent at reducing thigh size and toning your quadriceps and gluteals, giving a firmer and slimmer appearance to the area. Standing with your feet hip-width apart and your toes facing forward, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Sinking down by bending your knees and then your hips, go down into a deep squat, stopping when your thighs are parallel with the floor. Do not let your knees extend past your toes. Pulse 10 times by rising and sinking 1 to 2 inches to increase the difficulty of the exercise and build more muscle. Slowly rise back up to starting position, then repeat eight times for three sets.

Taking Steps: The Walking Lunge

The walking lunge exercise strings together a series of alternating-leg lunges to build muscle in your legs and hips while providing a gentle cardio workout. Standing with your feet hip width apart, take a large step forward with your left leg, lowering your hips straight down so that both your knees bend. Do not let your lower knee — in this case your right knee — touch the floor. Slowly rise back up so your legs are fully extended, bringing your right foot forward to meet your left, and then take a large step forward with your right foot, repeating the sink and rise. Repeat for 10 lunges per leg for a total of three sets.

Ballet Booty

The reverse leg lift is harder to do than it first appears. Based on a ballet exercise, the reverse leg lift not only builds thigh and hip muscle, but it also works your core area. Standing with your legs together, bend forward at your hips so your torso is parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg straight out behind you until it is also parallel to the floor, holding onto a chair if you need support. Gently bend your left leg, and then raise your right heel up toward the ceiling by 2 inches. Hold the position for five to 10 counts, before returning it to parallel position. Repeat the lift and hold eight times for two sets before switching legs.