Cellulite is body fat that has clumped or lumped together giving the skin a dimpled look. According to Mimi Barre in the August 11, 2009 issue of "Redland Daily Facts", cellulite affects 90% of women of all ages. Attributing factors include excess body fat, inactivity, high fat diets, weakened connective tissue and water loss in the skin. Cellulite most often appears in the lower body, specifically in the thighs and buttocks. Cellulite is not just for the overweight. It affects women of all shapes and sizes. There are several ways that cellulite, or the "cottage cheese" look, can be diminished.
Exercise will increase muscular strength and endurance while improving muscle tone. Weight training exercises like squats and lunges are effective for working the thighs and buttocks. Complete sets of 12 to 15 reps for improved muscular strength and muscle tone. Sets of 20 to 25 will add intensity to the workout. Higher intensities get the heart pumping and increase the training effect. Exercises using resistance bands are also excellent for lower body workouts. Scissors in a prone position and leg lifts in a side-lying position are recommended exercises for toning the buttock and thigh areas. Repeat the same repetitions as suggested for squats and lunges. Keep in mind that you can't spot reduce to eliminate cellulite and that your strength training will need to be combined with aerobic exercise and a healthy diet to reduce your body fat.
Cardio training increases caloric output. When combined with dieting, it will reduce body fat. Workouts on elliptical trainers and stair climbers will burn calories and target the muscles in the lower body. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week; doubling this number will help you reach your weight loss goals more quickly. In addition to calorie burning, the benefits of aerobic exercise include improved circulation which will help improve the skin's appearance. Working out at higher intensities will increase caloric expenditure along with results.
Exercise alone is not as effective as combining diet and exercise. Avoid processed foods containing salt, high fat foods and high amounts of caffeine drinks. According to Jari Love in the October 15, 2009 edition of the "Calgary Herald", high salt foods and toxins from caffeinated drinks become trapped in cells and cause cells to contain excess water. This increases cell size and the appearance of cellulite. Drink two liters of water daily to maintain adequate fluid levels. While diet and exercise are effective, they will not remove cellulite completely. Structural changes to the skin cells and connective tissue due to aging and the environment cause water loss and weakening. What diet and exercise can do is improve the appearance of the affected areas and provide some ammunition to fight the war on "cottage cheese."
- "Redlands Daily Facts"; Cellulite; Mimi Barre; August, 2009.
- "Calgary Herald"; The Bottom Line on Cellulite; Jari Love; October, 2009.
- Department of Health: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Summary
- bench exercise image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.