Muscular, sharp, tanned – the legs will be revealed throughout the summer. From anti-swelling menus to the most specific sports, our protocols that really work to make you look better.
We would like them to be finer, smoother, more curved or more Sun tanning… They carry us, and that’s already a good start. “We tend to forget to take care of our legs, hydrate them, take care of them. We abuse them a lot in our current way of life”, says Sarah Fadli, aesthetic doctor and director of Maison Lutétia, in Paris. Our relationship with them explodes even more in times of heat wave. “The heat causes vasodilation of the blood vessels, so the venous return is less good. The blood remains localized in the lower limbs”, explains the doctor. A particularly worrying phenomenon, as 45% of French people report suffering from at least one of the symptoms of venous insufficiency*: a feeling of heavy legs or painful, swelling of the ankles, edema, varicosities or varicose veins, cramps, tingling and, in more severe cases, phlebitis or ulcers. What to do when the famous cold water jet and compression stockings are no longer enough? The experts give us their recipe.
On video, slender and shapely legs with the Be+Etam challenge
“In some women, it is unfortunately difficult to target fat loss in the legs, either with a diet or with sports,” reveals Claudia Modica, sports coach and former high-level footballer, who advises choosing a fun activity to spend it without getting discouraged. . Trampoline, dance on high heels, skating… The new fashion disciplines do not lack imagination to move their legs. “Many people make the mistake of focusing only on cardio and running away from muscle development for fear that their legs will “swell”. However, by developing our muscle mass we increase our basic metabolism, that is, the energy that our body consumes at rest: thus, we can eat more, while losing fat and toning up”, points out the expert.
“Instead of making another regime, we adopt anti-water retention foods: the first thing we need to do is limit our salt intake,” warns Valérie Espinasse, a micronutritionist in Paris, adding that “you should drink only plain water or mixed with lemon juice. Avoid sparkling water and sodas, for their moisturizing properties and food additives. Also limit the large volumes of water associated with vegetables, such as gazpachos.
On the contrary, we opted for proteins (animal or vegetable) and draining vegetables (leek, celery, artichoke, etc.). “Also bet on so-called “live” foods, that is, all raw and colored fruits and vegetables, adds naturopath Claire Andreewitch. make big summer salads full of aromatic herbs rich in antioxidants, such as mint, basil, coriander…”
Instead of doing another diet, adopt anti-water retention foods: the first thing you should do is limit your salt intake
Valérie Espinasse, micronutritionist
For those who do not have the reflex to hydrate enough, the expert suggests “eating your water” by consuming summer fruits that contain it in abundance, such as watermelon, melon or strawberries. Your essential recipe to stimulate circulation and venous return? “A fresh infusion based on horse chestnut, witch hazel or red vine, to which we add red fruits, very rich in antioxidants.” The meals are combined with food supplements based on strong anti-leg plants, such as ginkgo biloba, sweet clover, black currant or grape polyphenols.
“The correct method is to use light weights and do high reps. This is how lean muscles are built,” says sports trainer Julie Granger, founder of The Studio Paris and wellness expert at Guerlain, who suggests taking inspiration from the training of dancers to develop the muscles in length: “The particular thing about dance is the precision of the movement. We point our feet, stretch our legs, adjust their position, lengthen them. By contrast, disciplines like CrossFit or boot camp typically build muscles across the width.
Being aware of the area you’re working on is just as essential: “So it involves areas that wouldn’t activate on their own. For example, if you do a squat, it is necessarily the quadriceps that works, because it is the strongest muscle, so it is activated automatically. To have long legs, you have to try to divide this work by hooking the hamstrings on the back and the adductors on the inner side of the thighs”, adds the professional dancer.
Indispensable to relieve the feeling of heavy legs and reduce fluid retention, the lymphatic drainage sees his popularity rating rise in the summer. At the institute, we are testing the mechanical version, with robotic rollers that “open and stimulate the lymph nodes, then go through the entire lymphatic network to help detoxify the body,” says Sarah Fadli. The light legs effect is immediate, but it must be done at least twice a week to maintain these results over time.
At home, we maintain these benefits with the dry brushing, the beauty secret that the stars can no longer do without: just before taking a shower, for two minutes, make circular movements with the brush from the feet to the hips, rising towards the heart. Then we continue with a massage on clean skin: “In a sitting position, she crosses her right leg over her left leg. With your left hand, massage behind the malleolus. With a flat palm, press and slide along the calf maintaining a pressure between 5 and 8 kg (to be tested on a scale). Go up insisting on the popliteal hollow (behind the knee), then go up to the back of the thigh. Repeat the same thing, this time finishing on the inside of the thigh, then switch legs. For a change, do small pumping maneuvers by pressing and releasing”, recommends Anne Cali, physiotherapist and founder of the GAD (Slide, press, take off) weight loss protocol, “this is the most effective way to reactivate venous and lymphatic return in periods high heat. Add helichrysum or grapefruit essential oil to firm, or mint hydrosol to refresh.
Some poses reverse the effects of gravity by raising the legs skyward. It helps blood return to the heart more easily.
Laura Dary, yoga teacher
At the end of the day, we allow ourselves a short session of yoga : “Certain postures allow you to reverse the effects of gravity, thanks to the fact that you take your legs towards the sky. We help blood get back up to the heart more easily,” says yoga teacher Laure Dary, who suggests trying the standing split (standing position, hands on the ground, one leg stretched out vertically), in light of a candle or the posture on the head. “Putting your head lower than your heart improves blood and lymphatic circulation, and ensures better distribution of fluids between the upper and lower body,” she explains.
smooth them out
“Today, we tend to combine aesthetic medicine techniques to optimize results against cellulitis and orange peel. Lymphatic drainage is mixed with cryolipolysis to destroy fatty deposits, or even with low-frequency waves that target the membrane of fat cells and empty them to act on dimples”, explains Dr. Fadli, but specifies that “If treatments are effective, they are always temporary.” The new fashionable natural care in institutes? wood therapya technique from Colombia that takes advantage of the benefits of wood.
“Unlike palpating-rolling, we are not going to relax the skin, on the contrary, we are going to tone and sculpt it with different tools, describes Sarah-Line Attlan, founder of the Lymfea studio, in Paris. These come in different shapes, such as cylinders or spatulas. They are used in specific areas, each with its particularity: some help to drain and unclog the lymphatic tissues, others to break down fat cells. It is practiced as a cure, at the rate of a weekly session for two months, to find a smoother skin. Another fashion accessory invites itself to professional protocols like in our bathroom: the icing knife, with its curved shape that hugs the shape of the legs. “We run it under cold water in the shower and vigorously massage the skin to expel liquid lumps, tighten the arterial caliber, enhance microcirculation”, guarantees Claire Hermet, osteopath and founder of Faciology studies.
“Three weeks before we go on vacation, we do one or two weekly exfoliations, advises Dominique Rist, international director of spa protocols. Clarins. Thus, we get a more uniform tan, which will last longer. Those who are wary of the sun, but still want to show off tanned legs, can rely on self-tanner. The new formulas launched on the market make it easier for you to do it yourself without missing a thing: “The trick to a perfect finish is to work it into the skin. It is applied with both hands with circular movements and slightly supported, as if you wanted to impregnate the skin, starting at the ankles and gradually rising to the upper part of the thighs. It’s like a mini massage. We finish with the tops of the feet and ankles, without going over the heels.
*Ifop survey “The French and their legs. Venous insufficiency, beyond aesthetics”, May 2020.