Those lumps and bumps on your thighs and hips are called cellulite, an accumulation of fat beneath your skin. It is not a serious medical problem, but it can be embarrassing and make you self-conscious. Controlling your weight and exercising regularly can help prevent cellulite from forming to a certain extent, as well as improve the look of the lumps you already have.
Definition and Risk Factors
Fat collects in pockets under the surface of your skin, straining against the connective tissue and leading to the dimpled look of cellulite. It is a fairly common condition, and your genetics, sex, amount of body fat, age and even the thickness of your skin can all contribute to your development of cellulite. Having a sedentary life and failing to exercise regularly can lead to the formation of cellulite as well.
Benefits of Exercise
Regular exercise helps you lose weight, as well as control it once the pounds are lost. It also strengthens and tones your muscles and gets rid of excess body fat, which can improve both your skin’s tone and its texture. All of these factors can make your cellulite look less noticeable. Performing a combination of aerobic and strength-training activities is the best way to drop pounds, burn fat and reduce the appearance of your cellulite.
Limitations of Exercise
Even if you are thin, you can still have cellulite. You might be genetically predisposed to this condition, and while exercise can lessen your chances of getting it, it may not prevent its formation entirely. Once cellulite has accumulated, nothing has been proven to completely eliminate it from your body, according to MedlinePlus. Additionally, your skin loses elasticity as you get older, and this can make your cellulite look more noticeable, even with regular exercise.
In addition to exercising, it is important to monitor your diet to ward off excess pounds and keep cellulite from getting worse. Eat plenty of produce and fiber, and avoid becoming dehydrated, which can make cellulite look more obvious. Do not smoke, and do your best to maintain a healthy weight. The ups and downs of weight gain and loss can worsen the appearance of cellulite.
Avoid topical creams and oils that claim they will get rid of cellulite. These are most like ineffective, and they may even cause a skin irritation. If you are concerned about your cellulite, see your doctor.
Lynne Sheldon has over 12 years of dance experience, both in studios and performance groups. She is an avid runner and has studied several types of yoga. Sheldon now works as a freelance writer, editor and book reviewer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and art history from Boston University and recently completed her Master of Fine Arts in writing from Pacific University.