Can exercise get rid of cellulite?

Has anyone here really improved that dimpled, orange-peel look on their butt and thighs through exercise? I've been very active for the last few years; I go to the gym a few times a week, I walk to work every day, and I ride a bike on the weekends. It's done nothing for my cellulite, and I'm not even fat. I'm actually quite skinny, but my hips are a bit larger. Any positive solutions here?


F, 29, Texas

Tags:woman hips dimpling cellulite skinny exercise

It was a long time before I learned that there was more to cellulite than excessive fat. I have always sported a leaner cut figure, and I did this mostly through good eating habits. I’ve never cared much for pop, and I try not to eat too much sugar at a time because it causes a terrible acne flair up. With such a clean diet, I never thought I would develop cellulite marks all over my lower body, but I did. What was even more shocking was that I was only 27 - much too young to have this problem for no apparent reason. Through many hours of research, I learned that eating healthy was only one cornerstone of the solution when it came to preventing cellulite. I started stepping up my workout game and mixed in a lot of lower body exercises. On top of that, I started taking the skin, hair, and nails capsules along with fish collagen. Taking these supplements every day has helped my skin replenish all the nutrients it has lost since I entered my twenties. My skin looks better now, and I don’t feel so old anymore.

The sad reality is that almost all women have cellulite. I've even noticed it along the legs of volleyball players at the Olympics! Since cellulite is caused by bands of connective tissue fiber pulling the skin down into dimples, exercise won't technically remove it. However, exercise can be helpful at reducing the overall appearance of cellulite. It can help to reduce the size of some of those fat cells that bunch up between the cellulite-causing fibers, and it can also help to create a larger muscle layer that press against the skin more smoothly. I've been doing a weight lifting program for a couple months that involves a lot of squats, step ups, and glute bridges which has helped in getting rid of excess body fat. Even though my legs are technically larger now, the cellulite is way less noticeable. My butt and upper thighs appear smoother, especially when I flex them, so it seems like exercise can help to reduce cellulite. However, I do still have a few shallow cellulite dimples in a couple places.

I had the confusing problem of retaining cellulite despite regular exercise. I was embarrassed to wear shorts in front of anybody – especially after my 6 year old called my attention to the similarity between my thighs and the bowl of applesauce I had just served him. It wasn’t until I discovered exercises that targeted the leg and butt muscles that I began to notice a change. As I lunged and squatted my way through the day with my training program, my legs started to smooth and tone, yet the cellulite remained. I started applying moisturizing lotions and creams that were heavy in things like vitamin E and sunflower seed oil, and that extra boost further reduced the lumpiness. I still have cellulite, but through these methods I have reduced it down enough to feel okay about wearing shorts again.

A good solution to cellulite that has worked for me (aside from exercise with my personal trainer) is a change in diet. I began to go easier on carb intake and sugary drinks (like juice, sodas, and sweet tea), and increased my water and fiber intake. I gravitated towards leaner meats, and when I ate cheat foods, I exercised portion control. I combined this diet change with working vitamin E enriched lotions into my skin two or so times a day for a very long time. However, I have improved my skin enough to be able to only have to lotion up twice a day now. This was, by no means, an overnight process. I had to maintain enough self-discipline to exercise and thoroughly moisturize myself everyday as well as eat right and not give in to the temptation of fast food. My personal trainer also introduced strength training into my routine which has definitely shocked my body and induced weight loss and muscle gain.

When I had really bad cellulite on my butt and thighs, I started doing lunges and plié squats every day because I had read that it would get rid of my lumpiness in the fastest time. The exercising did indeed induce change to my body fat, but it just didn’t seem to be enough to reduce my cellulite. One day, I was complaining to my aunt about how I just couldn’t seem to get rid of it, and that’s when she told me about elastin. I had no idea that my skin had been quietly losing its elasticity as I grew older. I started using vitamin E and collagen based lotions every day, and since then I have been noticeably been reducing cellulite.

For years, I had no idea what was causing the cellulite on my butt and thighs. I thought that maybe I was just getting old because I’ve always stayed quite thin. I eventually found out that it was actually an elasticity problem with my skin. My lack of elastin was allowing excess fat to poke through my skin and cause all the mini lumps. Since then, I have regularly used lotions packed with collagen, vitamin E, and aloe vera. Anything super hydrating will help combat the appearance of cellulite. I know it’s helped me by smoothing out what use to be super noticeable spots.