From our hips to our toes, our legs are a network of more than 60 different bones that help us navigate from point A to point B every day. They are the object of desire for both men and women, as they are considered one of the most important elements of seduction. Proportional legs are an enviable trait, but what do our legs reveal other than just attraction?

Weakening of the lower body is common as aging tends to reduce the amount of physical and social activity we do. Strength tends to peak around 25 years of age and continues through 35 or 40 years of age, and then begins to rapidly decline with 25 percent loss of peak force by the age of 65, according to However, knowing what our legs can tells us about our health can help keep them at optimal performance.

1. Short Legs And Longer Upper Body

A long torso accompanied by short legs is seen when the distance from the “last” rib to the top of the hip bone is 4 inches or greater, while the length from knee to ankle is less than the length from knee to hip. Although these proportions can help athletes have a lower center of gravity and a better ability to change direction quickly, it can also mean an increased risk of heart disease. A 2001 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that for every half-inch shorter your legs are in proportion to those of other men with the same-length upper bodies, you have a 10 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease.

These findings suggest leg length is a component of height that is related to insulin resistance and coronary heart disease risk. Pre-adult or childhood influences are important, since factors that influence leg length in adulthood include nutrition, other influences on growth in early life, and genetic and epigenetic influences. This supports other medical literature that has found a correlation between adult height and coronary heart disease risk.

2. Long Legs

Both men and women consider long legs to be attractive but the science behind this preference has remained a mystery — until recently. Long legs are suspected to be a subconscious sign of good nutrition and enhanced fertility. A 2008 study published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior found leg length is a good indicator of nutrition, since legs stop growing once women reach puberty. If a woman has long legs, she most likely grew up in a good environment, which can have a positive effect on fertility.

3. Stocky Legs

Stocky or thick legs may be a physical quirk but they can also be a physical warning sign of liver disease. Women with legs between 20 and 29 inches wide tend to have higher levels of four enzymes — alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) — indicating liver disease, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. The researchers believe childhood nutrition does not only influence growth patterns, but also liver development in adulthood.

Moreover, people with short, stocky legs are also 20 percent more susceptible to type 2 diabetes. A 2006 study published in the journal Diabetes Care found short legs were positively correlated with diabetes. However, being short didn’t affect diabetes risk after adjusting for other factors, but having a low leg-to-height ratio was associated with a slightly higher risk of type 2 diabetes.

4. Chunky Thighs

Not-so-slim thighs could be a nuisance but they may actually help you live a long and hearty life. A 2009 study published in the British Medical Journal found a thigh circumference of about 24.4 inches was most protective against premature death or heart disease in both men and women, whereas bigger thighs provided little, if any, extra benefit, and thinner thighs were linked to progressively higher risks. “The model-type figure does seem more at-risk than someone with an average size. This could be that thighs are made up mainly of muscle which has a positive effect on regulating insulin and inflammation,” said Professor Berit Heitmann, lead author of the study at Copenhagen University Hospital, according to The Telegraph. Since the researchers measured thigh size but not thigh composition, they were unable to tell if the protection of big thighs is due to more muscle, more fat, or both.

5. Painful Legs

Muscle cramping at the thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs, or exercising could be a sign of peripheral artery disease (PAD), the hardening of the arteries in the circulatory system. PAD-related pain often goes away when you stop exercising, but leg pain that does not go away post workout could indicate severe PAD, according to the American Heart Association. The condition occurs in the arteries that carry blood to the arms and legs. Risk factors for PAD include smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol among many others.

Step it up and take a closer look at the quirks in your legs that can reveal something about your health.