What is the real cause of cellulite? More importantly, what can one do to get rid of it for good? The answers to those questions vary and are even contradicting at times. While it is generally accepted that the dimply look is caused by swollen, overstuffed fat pockets (due to an unhealthy lifestyle), other experts assert that factors like toxic wastes trapped under the skin, poor lymphatic circulation and hormonal changes play a part.
The best and most realistic solution to combat cellulite is to attack the problem with different approaches, taking into account various aspects that might have caused it. Therefore, a cellulite reduction workout plan should focus on reducing overall body fat percentage, increasing muscle mass and detoxify the body.
Recent studies by the Mind-Body Medical Institute at Harvard University, US reported that yoga is an excellent exercise for improving lymphatic flow, boosting the body’s efficiency in eliminating toxins and excess retained fluids. Practitioners of this ancient workout also reap the benefits of less stress, greater flexibility, improved skin elasticity, strength and muscular definition. All these are factors that can contribute to cellulite reduction.
Furthermore, pop culture observers noted that celebrities known for their lean physiques and cellulite-free thighs like Madonna and Jennifer Aniston are long-time practitioners of yoga.
Styles of Yoga
One of the myths about yoga is that it only helps improve flexibility and does not burn fat. In actual fact, it all depends on the style of yoga one practices. Dynamic styles that emphasize deep rhythmic breathing will oxygenate the body for extra fat torching and balance hormones. Conversely, more static styles are good for gaining better strength and muscular endurance.
According to Malaysia-based certified yoga and Pilates instructor, Sophia Oh, “One should look for a yoga style that emphasizes on ‘flow’ if weight loss is the main concern. Yoga style such as Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga is based on movements that synchronize with breathing (one breath one movement). When done correctly one’s heart rate will be raised and kept elevated for a period of time, which fulfills the cardio part of the workout. For a muscles defining workout, one should be looking at yoga style which requires the body to stay in poses for a longer period of time such as Iyengar yoga.”
These poses, listed with their Sanskrit names, improve overall circulation by encouraging the flow of lymph fluids. They should be incorporated into one’s regular yoga practice for optimum results.
Shoulder Stand (Sarvagasana)
Forearm Stand (Pincha Mayurasana)
Head Stand (Sirasana)
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
To improve muscle definition on the lower body, which is the area where cellulite normally forms, practice the following standing posses regularly:
Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Standing Forward Bent (Uttanasana)
Each poses should be held for five to 10 breath counts before returning to starting position. As a precautionary measure, if you are a beginner to yoga, always seek professional assistance when trying out advance poses.
Cellulite Myths and Facts
Cellulite needs no introduction. It is the bane of 80 percent of women around the world. As such, many facts and theories pertaining to the formation and cure of those thigh dimples has been greatly distorted, exaggerated and to a certain extent, unethically manipulated by the cosmetic industry for the purpose of selling cellulite treatment products.
Here are seven widespread cellulite myths that have either been debunked or still inconclusive.
Only Overweight People have Cellulite
The girth of the thighs and buttocks has nothing to do with the presence of cellulite. Ideal weight women with unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits suffer from cellulite as well. On the other hand, a lot of female athletes have large muscular thighs that are cellulite-free.
Female bodybuilding competitor, Karen Sessions says, “It has nothing to do with weight, size, or skin tone and skin structure, but everything to do with toxins and fat. Cellulite is not a disease and it’s not genetic, it’s a condition developed by an unhealthy lifestyle, a lifestyle that can be changed!”
Drinking Lots of Water Can Worsen Cellulite
The general recommendation of drinking eight glasses per day for overall health maintenance still stands. Since one of the causes of cellulite is said to be excess toxins trapped along with fat cells, plenty of fluid intakes actually keep the body properly hydrated and help flush away toxins.
Diet and Exercise has No Effect on Cellulite Reduction
SkinHelp, a UK-based website formed as a reference source for skin problem treatments with features written by experts in the medical field, reported that Caucasian women are more prone to cellulite than Asian women. This may be due to the general Asian diet being lower in fat and less acidic, whereas Westerners consume more processed food.
Moreover, studies and observations have consistently shown that women with leaner body composition as a result of physical activity have little or no cellulite. This is most evident on sporting events like the Olympics, physique competitions and TV programs like Gladiator, which feature elite female athletes.
Female Hormones is one of the Causes of Cellulite
Microscopic anatomical studies have proven that the structure of fat storage underneath the skin is different for men and women. Men have thicker epidermis and dermis around the thighs and buttock area. Also, fat cells in the male body are assembled into polygonal units separated by crisscrossing connective tissues, while the similar tissues in the female body are perpendicular.
Some experts suggested that hormonal changes during puberty have an effect on skin structure and fat storage. This might be the explanation as to why pre-pubescent girls show no sign of cellulite; however, this hypothesis still lacks solid evidence that either substantiates or refutes it.
Cellulite is Genetic
Once more, microscopic anatomical studies show it is not really cellulite, but body fat distribution that is genetically inherited. The majority of women hold fat around their hips and thighs area. Furthermore, women generally have higher percentage of body fat then men, coupled with the fact that the fat tissue structure that is prone to create the “mattress” look on the skin is gender-typical to females.
Caffeine Can Cause Cellulite
A cup of coffee is known to provide a short energy boost for the day, but as to whether or not it contributes to the orange peel appearance is still very much disputed. Researchers theorized that since caffeine is diuretic, the water loss as a result of consumption can cause the body cells to get dehydrated. Hence, the body lacks water to aid in moving toxins and excess fats.
On the other hand, there are also other researchers theorized that caffeine beverages actually stimulate thermogenesis, which aids in weight loss and cellulite disappearance. However, according to Mayo Clinic nutritionist, Katherine Zeratsky R.D., L.D., “some of the studies looking at caffeine and weight were poor quality or done on animals, making the results questionable or hard to generalize to humans.”
Given the contradictions, moderate amounts of coffee and tea, about a cup or two a day may not be a cause for concern. It is also worth noting that caffeine is a popular ingredient in many commercial anti-cellulite creams.
Cellulite Creams Can Help Minimize the Appearance
There are too many contradicting reports from users of commercial cellulite cure products from around the world for any solid conclusion to be drawn. Hence, it remains a “buyer beware” area.