Cellulite is fat deposits under the skin. Squats can help reduce cellulite when they are included as a part of an overall fitness and nutrition program, but by themselves, they won’t be enough to eliminate cellulite. To reduce cellulite, you must reduce your total body fat, although even thin people may be genetically predisposed to developing cellulite. The best way to reduce cellulite is through diet and muscle toning.
Cellulite is subcutaneous fat that has pushed into the dermis, the layer of skin directly underneath the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. The dermis contains hair follicles, sweat glands, blood vessels and nerve receptors. Underneath the dermis are two layers of subcutaneous fat. When this fat protrudes up into the dermis, it creates the characteristic orange-peel texture that you see on your skin as cellulite. Cellulite most often appears on the hip, buttock, and back of the thighs and tends to worsen with age. Cellulite is not a disease or a skin condition.
The connective tissue in skin is structured differently in men and women. Connective tissue is found in the dermis layer and is composed of collagen, water and elastic tissue. It provides a structure for the dermis and helps to stabilize it. Women’s connective tissue has a box-like structure that is separated by columns of collagen. This arrangement allows fat to push outwards towards the surface of the skin, where it appears as dimples. Men’s connective tissue has more cross connections, which tend to hold the fat under the skin, allowing it to expand inwards. Men also have a thicker epidermis, which makes cellulite more difficult to see.
Squats are simple exercises that do not require any special equipment, and you can just use your own body weight to perform them. It’s important that you perform squats correctly so that you don’t injure your lower back or knees by putting too much stress on them. To perform a squat, stand up straight and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and push your glutes backward as though you are going to sit down in a chair. Using your leg muscles, slowly come back to a standing position. Performing three sets of 10 to 15 squats three times a week is adequate. Squats can also be performed with dumbbells or barbells to increase the intensity.
Squats work all of the leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings and lower leg muscles. They also work the gluteus maximus, the erector spinae and rectus abdominus muscles. Not only will the squats burn calories, but the muscles that you build from the exercise will burn more calories than fat and contribute to weight loss. As you tone muscles and reduce fat, the appearance of cellulite will diminish.
Other Cellulite Treatments
Squats can contribute to cellulite reduction, but some other methods are available to eliminate unwanted fat. Surgical interventions include liposuction and subcision. Nonsurgical interventions include massage, injectable agents that encourage fat cells to shrink, heat therapy, topical ointments, shock-wave therapy and laser treatments. Treatments are usually expensive and their results are inconclusive, whereas squats can be performed for free and can be helpful.
Karen S. Garvin has been a professional writer since 1988, when "Dragon" magazine published her first article. Her recent work includes encyclopedia entries on historical subjects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and is pursuing a master's degree in European history. Her interests include photography, science, history and Steampunk.