To counteract fat caused by too much sitting, simply lie back and put your feet up. Here are two moves for firming, lifting, and shaping your rear end and thighs that employ this principle. These lower-body toners use a stability ball and are done in a reclining position, so they’re easier on your knees than squats are. Keeping your legs elevated throughout each exercise also works your abs and increases circulation to energize your legs and reduce the risk of varicose veins. Do 2 or 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps of each move, 3 nonconsecutive days a week.
A. Lie on your back with arms at sides and heels on ball. Lift hips, lower back, and midback off floor.
B. Bend knees and roll ball in toward rear. Hold for a second, then extend legs. Repeat. For more of a challenge, extend one leg toward ceiling and roll ball using only one leg at a time. (Not recommended if you have back or neck problems.)
A. Lie on your back, knees bent, and place ball between ankles. Squeeze ball and extend legs into air.
B. Rotate legs and ball to right, lowering right leg. Hold for a second, then rotate to left, raising right leg and lowering left. Hold and repeat. For more of a challenge, hold legs at a 45-degree angle to floor and rotate.
For extra insurance against varicose veins and swelling, lie with legs propped up on the ball for 5 to 10 minutes a day.