Toning generally refers to creating strong, lean muscles as well as losing extra weight, though it generally does not refer to gaining muscle mass or trying to make the muscles look bigger. Choosing a good toning program can help you to improve muscle tone, get stronger, improve posture and balance, and lose inches all over the body, including from the arms and legs. To choose the best toning program, begin by considering areas you might want to specifically target.
In general, it is a good idea to try to tone the entire body through a toning program. However, some people have particular problem areas, such as arms, stomach, or thighs, that may need extra work. In that case, you may want to choose a program that is specially designed to target those areas. Keep in mind that aerobic exercise will be necessary to eliminate fat, and in most cases, toning will only help with muscles - so if you want to lose weight, be sure to incorporate aerobic exercise into your workouts as well.
Next, when selecting a toning program, decide the amount of time you have to devote to exercise, as well as whether you want to exercise at home or at a gym. Some people find the energy of a group class to be more motivating, and find that classes introduce them to different exercises they may not have tried. Others prefer to work out in the privacy of their home, on their own schedule. If you choose to work out at home, you will need to find a toning program online or in a book or magazine, or purchase an exercise DVD.
In addition, consider if you need any extra equipment for the program. Some programs require their users to use hand weights, a balance ball, or a resistance band, for example, to add difficulty to the exercises. If you do not want to purchase these, or don't have room for these items, you might want to choose a different program. Some programs may also offer diet advice as well, or incorporate aerobics right into the toning program.
There is no requirement for sticking with a toning program if you find that you don't like it, or it is not working for you. If a program aggravates an old injury, for example, you might want to switch to a different one. Many people use yoga or Pilates for toning, and find that they gently work different muscle groups throughout the whole body, but offer many modifications for people with limitations or injuries. Keep in mind that it takes time to tone muscles; it will not happen overnight.