Remember when leggings with a BIG, L O N G sweater to cover up your muffin top and upper thighs was IN?  Miss that fashion!  Kids brought the leggings back, but without the big sweater to cover things up, dang it!  If you're confident enough to wear leggings now, you should know they could be tricking your muscles into being lazy!

But the army of women who rely on them could be in for a nasty shock now that it’s time to peel them off for summer.

Experts have warned that leggings can make the muscles ‘lazy’ and can result in flabby stomachs and wobbly legs.  The claim will alarm thousands for whom leggings have become a wardrobe staple.

Physiotherapist Sammy Margo said: ‘They hold in and support the quadriceps (thigh muscles), buttocks and core muscles in your tummy, and do the job the muscles are supposed to do.  ‘As a result, the muscles are allowed to relax and switch off, so when we reveal our bodies for the first time as summer approaches, they are not as svelte or firm as they otherwise would be.’

The problem is further exacerbated because wearers’ bare legs and midriffs are ‘out of sight, out of mind’, so women are less inclined to take steps to tone up during the winter months.

Lycra leggings made a fashion comeback in 2006 and have remained popular ever since.  They are now available in virtually every style and colour, including wet-look, denim, animal print and neon.

The good news is that women can apparently regain the strength in the muscles that have been made lethargic by their leggings through a few simple, daily exercises.

They include walking with ankle weights, clenching and releasing the stomach and buttocks throughout the day.