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16 Nov 2004

Exercise for bum and thighs
Dear FitnessDoc,

I am a 27 year old female, I am 1.73 metres tall and I weigh 55 kg. I think I am skinny, but I recently noticed that I have cellulite on my bum and thighs. There is no way that I can go to the gym, so I need to do some exercise at home. I have got a jumping rope and also a PVC gym ball (which I don't really know how to use). Can you please advise me on which exercise I can do to get rid of the cellulite?

Kind regards,

Answer 404 views

01 Jan 0001

HI Sarah

Cellulite is super common, so you are not alone. Up to 85% of post-adolescent women have some cellulite on their bodies. It does not appear in women until after puberty. It very rarely appears in men. According to American science, cellulite is just fat. Much of the body’s fat is stored beneath the skin, where strands of connective fibre separate fat cells into compartments. When the cells increase in size, they bulge out of these compartments, giving the skin a crosshatched appearance in some individuals. It's more apparent in women because they have thinner skin and their fibres are taut, especially in the back of the thigh. The less total body fat you have, the lower your chance of having cellulite. Cellulite also has a large genetic influence, which determines the strength of the connective fibres and the thickness of the skin. People who have it are not likely to get rid of it completely.

Special creams, brushes, lotions, rubdowns or rubber pants won’t get rid of cellulite. Instead cellulite should be treated as any other fat – by following a regimen of proper diet and regular aerobic exercise.

In terms of exercise - try to get into a regular exercise routine of cardio exercise (brisk walking, cycling, rowing, swimming, stepping etc) at least 3-5 times per week for 30 - 45 minutes. Do these at a moderate intensity, that allows you to exercise for 45 minutes, without feeling completely exhausted afterwards. You should feel that your breating, heart rate and metabolic rate are elevated when you finish.

You can also include some strengthening and toning exercises - like a toning circuit at the gym or some body weight exercises that you can do at home such as squats and lunges. Following a general workout program that will help reduce total body fat will help. Certain gym workouts can actually be more specific, high rep leg exercises with relatively low weights. Here are some general guidelines for weight training:

If your aim were to build muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
• Perform 6-10 reps at a high intensity - use a weight that you could lift 12 to 15 times
• Perform 3-4 sets
• Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
• Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
• Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout

If your aim were to tone muscle, the following guidelines will help you:
• Perform 10-15 reps but at a much lower intensity - use a weight that would allow you to lift the weight at least 25 times.
• Perform 4-6 sets
• Rest 30-60 seconds between reps
• Train each muscle group at least once or twice a week
• Allow 48 hours rest between each muscle’s workout

Now, for what you have at your disposal, I would suggest that you skip regularly - I think that this is quite high intensity cardiovascular exercise. I don't believe that your entire training programme can consist of only skipping though, and so I do suggest that you consider walking and running and other cardio exercises. As for the ball, these balls are extremely good for core stability and strength, but I don't believe that they will help with your specific problem. Therefore, because of their very good effect on core strength (important to prevent a lot of injuries, including back problems, which can really be a pain), I do think that you should still make use of the ball, but it's not going to make a huge impact on your cellulite - for this, you need the cardio as I have explained above.

You could also take a look at your nutrition, and if you need help then I suggest that you consult with a registered dietician. As Biokineticists we are experts in the field of exercise prescription and not specific diets and nutrition. I would therefore suggest that you contact a dietician in your area who will be able to help you with a personalized diet. If you need help locating a dietician in your area may help you. You need to look under PPD (Private Practice Dieticians).

Good luck
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