Cellulite stops us from feeling sexy but it shouldn’t have to. The truth is your fancy creams and concoctions just don’t work. But does diet and exercise? Here is everything you need to know to combat cellulite:
What is cellulite?
Cellulite is fat that oozes through the mesh of connective tissue which holds fats cells in our skin. When we’re young, our connective tissue is tight, but after the age of 30 our connective tissue begins to lose elasticity allowing for fat to push out through the gaps. As an add on, our skin with age also loses density, which gives us a better view of what is happening just on the other side. This is why cellulite appears bumpy, much like cottage cheese. Because not only is it oozing through our connective tissue but we’re also getting a better view of the protrusion.
Why do women have more Cellulite than men?
Women have a different type of connective tissue than men. While men have a horizontal, criss-cross pattern, women have a honeycomb shaped connective tissue which gives fat a greater chance to bulge. Men aren’t immune to cellulite, but it is less likely you’ll notice he has it.
Women also have more fat deposits in their legs and hips than men do. Since cellulite is fat, this gives women a greater possibility of having cellulite.
Will exercise get rid of cellulite?
There is no way to eliminate cellulite completely. But through proper exercise and nutrition, cellulite can be reduced. Here’s why:
Exercise increases muscle mass:
With an increase in muscle mass, your circulation improves and fluids are effectively pumped throughout your body. This is important because as fluid moves throughout your body it keeps newly forming connective tissue healthy. Since loose connective tissue is the main culprit for cellulite, having a healthy, strong tissue holding everything in place will help to reduce cellulite.
With a proper nutrition and exercise program you begin to lose fat. Since cellulite is caused by fat, reducing it through exercise and nutrition will help.
The best exercise prescription for cellulite:
Although there is no one size fits all exercise program that can ensure you’ll reduce your cellulite, some exercise plans have been tested to work better than others. Your exercise program should include both cardio and strength training in order to get your muscles pumping and your blood flowing.
Resistance training 2-3 times per week: Do a full body resistance program 2-3 times per week. This includes both upper and lower body exercises. If you don’t have fitness equipment uses your own body weight.
Cardio 3 days a week or more: Do any form of cardio (either low impact or high) for at least 20 minutes three times a week. Work your way up until you’re able to do cardio most days of the week. In order for this to be effective, make sure you heart rate is at 70-80% of your heart rate zone. If you’re unsure what this feels like, try singing the alphabet as you exercise. Your words should be slightly choppy as you try to catch your breath. If you’re unable to sing, then you’ve gone to high. If you’re singing at the top of your lungs without any complications you’re not working hard enough.
Exercise (plus good nutrition) is a great way to reduce cellulite. It increases fluid flow in your body, it reduces body fat that causes cellulite and it tightens and tones the body. This makes exercise one of the best ways to reduce your cellulite. However, truth be told, if you want to eliminate cellulite completely, to date there is no sure fire cure.
Exercise, A. A. (2009). Fit Facts: Exercise and cellulite. Retrieved from ACE fitness: http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/pdfs/fitfacts/itemid_2617.pdf
Hanemaayer, K. (2014). The effect of massage on the thighs, buttock, and abdomen to diminish the appearance of cellulite, improving self esteem. Vancouver: Vancouver College of Massage Therapy.