Who doesn’t wish to gain beautiful lean legs through running! But what exactly makes beautiful legs? And how can we get them? Today, we ask Maki Shirato and Senko Negishi of Shiseido Research Center and a supporting staff of Shiseido Running Club, Yoko Aizu for their tips, and see Mami Mochinaga, athlete and model, give them a try!
Researcher, Shiseido Advanced Research Center. Certified as health science adviser by the Japanese Society of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine. Engaged in developing beauty related software based on health science including sports, nutrition and relaxation, as well as researching the physical and mental effects of makeup.
Researcher, Shiseido Cosmetics Value Development Center. Works on developing beauty software and body care products, as well as massage theory. Certified beauty therapist of the Association of Japanese Estheticians and Beauty Therapists (AJESTHE).
Shiseido Running Club supporting staff. Started track and field at high school and participated in many competitions including Inter-High School Championships as a long-distance runner. Joined Shiseido Running Club in 2014. Now, she shares her experience to support various activities including running events.
Master the Right Standing Posture
Before you actually get down to toning your legs, you must first master a good standing posture. As we previously introduced , a good standing posture is a crucial base for all activities to tone your body. So it is important to be conscious of the right posture while running, too.
Running + Massage & Stretches Create Beautiful Legs
In addition to building your muscles while running, you can also get beautiful lithe legs by including massage and stretches into your training menu. “Lithe legs are the result of good circulation, limber muscles and flexible body, and massage helps a lot to achieve these.” (Ms. Negishi) “A reasonable amount of muscle and flexible joints and tendons are also important to create beautiful legs. You can gain supple legs by adding some stretches to expand the range of joint motion, whereas running helps build up your muscles.” (Ms. Shirato).
Ms. Aizu also adds that “stretches help prevent your legs from sore muscles and an injury, and massage helps reduce swelling and fatigue.” Effective massage and stretches not only prevent an injury and fatigue but also tone your legs effectively.
Massage for Beautiful Legs
Here is the massage technique that Shiseido Running Club members do as part of their regular treatment. It works best when your circulation is boosted, like after having a bath, says Ms. Aizu.
【Use body lotion/cream, etc.】
➀ Take body lotion/cream on your palms. Rest your leg on a bathtub or chair, etc. (just standing is also OK) and apply it over the whole leg, from ankle to hip flexor with your both hands. You can expect a better effect if you add light pressure when sweeping upward.
➁ Hold the ankle properly and knead the whole leg, twisting firmly up to the hip flexor. Repeat until the lotion/cream is well absorbed.
Stretches for Beautiful Legs
Meanwhile, stretching apparently varies in effect depending on when you do it. Ms. Shirato is here to explain.
“Pre-run stretching is highly effective as warmup as it relaxes the muscles and expands the range of joint motion, helping you to move more smoothly. In addition, it helps improve your running performance and prevents injury. Post-run stretching, on the other hand, helps alleviate the fatigue and sore muscles, and relax the body and mind as you gently stretch the muscles with deep slow breathing.
“I would recommend doing stretching on a daily basis, preferably in the morning and at night, not only before or after a workout. Morning stretches work well as a warmup, having the same effects as pre-run stretching, and if you stretch before going to bed, you can expect the same effects as from post-run cool down stretching.”
Here are the stretches that Shiseido Research Center recommends especially for toning legs. Combine these with the stretches we introduced before for a better effect.
【Stretching inner thighs and hip flexors】
➀ Sit with soles together. (No need to pull the soles close to the body.) Place your hands onto the ankles.
➁ Gently push the knees with the elbows and lean forward. Feel your inner thighs, hip flexors and upper hips stretching.
What does Ms. Mochinaga have to say?
We asked Ms. Mochinaga how she felt after the massage and stretches. “Just standing in the right posture was much harder than I had expected. I was really shocked and not even sure that I was really standing straight properly. Well, we don’t really know our own body, do we? I do kickboxing as well as running so I believe that it’s very important to keep hip flexors flexible. I do stretching every day but I was glad to learn the right forms. Massage too, I do massage while having a bath and I’m looking forward to trying the massage techniques I learnt today from now on.”
Do include massage and stretches into your exercise menu and build healthy and beautiful legs!
Fashion model. Born in Saitama on September 12, 1988. Started working as a salon model at the age of 17 and fully engaged in modeling after winning the Grand Prix at ZOZOTOWN Model Audition. Besides modeling, actively practices various sports including full marathon, kickboxing, and triathlon.