Cellulite is that unsightly, dimpled appearance of the skin found most commonly on the back of the thighs, buttocks, and on the belly. According to Medical News Today, it is caused by any of these factors: hormones, genetics, diet, lifestyle factors, and clothing. In a effort to eliminate cellulite, women have been known to try cellulite creams, heat treatments, injections, liposuction, dry brushing, and massage. While results may be visually apparent, they are sometimes temporary. Proper diet and exercise, however, may be the most healthy and effective way to improve the appearance of and eliminate cellulite.
Attacking cellulite often requires a reduction in body fat, an increase of protein in the diet, a reduction of junk food and carbohydrates, and an increase in water intake. Exercises that stimulate the lymphatic system and increase circulation should be incorporated into the fitness routine. The lymphatic system is located just below the surface of the skin and is the responsible for fighting disease and infections. If this system gets clogged with toxins, lymph fluid gathers in the connective tissues and may produce dimples in the skin. Recommended exercises to get the lymphatic system moving again include walking, jogging, running, jumping jacks, jumping rope, and rebounding (jumping on a small trampoline). These same exercises improve performance of the cardiovascular system and increase circulation. For indoor exercisers, machines like the treadmill, stair stepper, rowing machine, stationary exercise bike, and the elliptical machine may be preferred. Performing any of these exercises for at least 30 minutes a session and 4-5 days per week will help reduce body fat, increase circulation, and reduce the amount and appearance of cellulite.
Resistance training coupled with cardiovascular exercise is a powerful combination when battling cellulite. More oxygen is required to lift weights, so blood is pumped to the muscles. This adds a cardiovascular element to resistance training. Lifting free weights, using weighted machines, using exercise bands, and performing body weight exercises are all great examples of resistance training. It is important to focus on major muscle groups when trying to reduce body fat: chest, back, core, buttocks, and legs. For the chest, the bench press, chest press machine, and push-ups are especially effective. Dumbbell rows, lat pull-downs, and pull-ups work well for the back muscles. The core can be strengthened while performing weighted exercises, or exercises like crunches and planks may be performed, if preferred. The lower body can be targeted with squats, lunges, leg press, and leg extensions.
In a time crunch, circuit training is the most efficient way to combine cardiovascular exercise and resistance training. A 30-minute workout begins with a 2 minute cardio warm-up. This should be immediately followed by some active stretching for 2-3 minutes. Then, one set of an upper body resistance exercise (5-10 repetitions) should be performed followed by another cardio exercise. Next, choose a core exercise (5-10 repetitions) and then return to a cardio exercise. Finish with a lower body exercise (5-10 repetitions), a cardio exercise, and some cool-down stretches.
For those who have suffered injuries or have physical limitations, swimming, seated stationary bikes, yoga, and mat Pilates are all effective ways to achieve great results.
In summary, cellulite can be eliminated using a mix of cardiovascular exercises and resistance training paired with a healthy diet and increased water intake.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Raychelle Muhammad holds a B.S. in Sports Management from California University of Pennsylvania. Her studies focused on wellness and fitness. She is also an NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Raychelle has worked as a trainer since 2006 and specializes in full body workouts, general nutrition, and flexibility training.[/stextbox]