These are my legs. They will never be petite. They've been through strains, sprains, broken bones, surgery, and many rounds of rehab. They are stretch marked. They are scarred. I used to feel embarrassed about them, but I don't feel that way anymore!
These legs have helped me try every sport or activity that I've wanted to try. Years ago I stopped focusing on what I thought they should look like, and just started paying attention to what they do for me!
Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves all play a major role in movement and they provide a significant role in the shape of the legs. Large muscle movements use a lot of energy, which means there is a potential to use a ton of stored calories and improve the health of the muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, and lymphatic systems. (Side note: did you know that the heart doesn't beat and move the lymph like it does for our blood in the cardiovascular system? When we contract our muscles the lymph is pushed through one-way valves. When we are sedentary that circulation just doesn't occur and the lymph is stagnant- but strong muscle contractions make a big difference in our lymphatic health!)
I like to do anaerobic exercise like sprinting and jumping because it uses the entire body- focusing on the lower extremities in both concentric (contraction while shortening the muscle) and eccentric (contraction while the muscle is lengthening) phases. This allows the muscles to both produce force and resist force. It is an ideal combination for improving the larger fast twitch fibers of the lower body.
The fast twitch (Type II) muscle fibers help us with powerful and explosive movements. If you are doing activities that require higher power, speed, or force production, jumping can be a wonderful way to increase the function of the fast twitch muscle fibers and improve performance!
I'm thankful for these banged up legs that I have!