Is Swimming Good for Cellulite?

Woman swimming front crawl in pool
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You might hate the way you look in a swimming suit, but swimming is a good way to improve unwanted cellulite. Cellulite is a common problem for women, and many expensive spa treatments promise to banish cellulite forever. The truth, though, is that "miracle" cures do not work well. Fortunately, exercise and a healthy diet help burn fat and tone muscles, reducing cellulite and improving your appearance.

Cellulite Basics

Cellulite is much more common in women than in men, in part because fat tissue in women tends to settle on the hip and thigh, where cellulite usually occurs, according to the American Council on Exercise. When fat deposits bulge through the honey-comb-shaped warren of connective tissue that separates and divides them, the characteristic "orange peel" pattern appears. Cellulite increases with age because your skin loses its natural elasticity and shows the lumps and bumps under it.

Burning Fat

The surest way to reduce cellulite is to burn off the fat that creates it. Cardiovascular exercise, such as swimming, is a good way to achieve that goal. Swimming low to moderately intense endurance workouts is best for burning fat, according to USA Swimming. You body burns quickly metabolized carbohydrates when you do sprints or very fast laps, but taps into fat reserves when oxygen is plentiful and your pace slows. Try and get into the pool for 30 minutes, five to seven days a week.

Improving Circulation

One advantage that swimming has over other forms of cardiovascular exercise is the pressure of the water on your tissues. Water is denser than air, and it squeezes your limbs gently while you exercise, relieving edema or swelling. You use your thighs, calves and buttocks muscles extensively in swimming, particularly in breaststroke and improve circulation in cellulite-prone areas. Increasing blood circulation improves skin tone and health, and toned muscles smooth the areas where cellulite still exists.

Swimming And Diet

Swimming improves your health and burns calories, but diet plays a big part in your bid to lose weight and cellulite. You can swim all you want, but if you're not consuming a calorie-reduced, nutrient-rich diet replete with fresh foods and healthy fats. Gradual and steady weight loss yields lasting results. Also remember that to lose weight at all, you need to create a calorie deficit. It takes expending or reducing 3500 calories to lose one pound. Reducing your calorie intake by 500 a day will help you lose one pound a week.


Even if you lose a lot of weight, you still might have problems with bumpy or uneven skin. Being active reduces the likelihood of your developing cellulite, and helps minimize its impact when you develop the problem. Some treatments, such as injections and vigorous massage, damage tissue and cause more problems than they solve.