The Best Exercises to Reduce Cellulite

If you have cellulite, you're not alone. It's a common occurrence, and despite the fact that nearly everyone that has it wants to get rid of it, it's harmless. So what is it exactly? Cellulite is caused an uneven distribution of fat deposits. It's commonly found in the thighs, abdomen and hips of women and men (though it's more common in women).

A healthy diet and regular exercise will help reduce the appearance of cellulite. (Image: nd3000/iStock/GettyImages)

Since cellulite is caused by accumulation of fat deposits, the first step in reducing the appearance of cellulite is weight or fat loss. Cardiovascular workouts will enable you to lose weight, while a strength training program will aid in building lean muscle and toning the areas of your body prone to cellulite.

And of course, a healthy diet is also important. Choose lots of vegetables, fruits, lean protein and healthy fats. Be sure to drink lots of water, too, since dehydration can weaken your fascia (connective tissue surrounding muscles) and make cellulite more pronounced.

But even if you're exercising consistently and eating right, cellulite may not disappear completely, and that's OK! Since cellulite in and of itself isn't harmful, don't obsess over something you can't change and be proud of your healthy body — cellulite and all!

1. Cardio Exercise

Aerobic exercises such as running, cycling and swimming are excellent means of burning calories, increasing your metabolism and losing weight. These types of workouts utilize large muscles and increase your circulation, allowing muscle cells to break down glucose for energy.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, aerobic exercises increase your cardiovascular fitness and weight loss. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity performed at moderate intensity every day.

Tone your booty with squats. (Image: jacoblund/iStock/GettyImages)

2. Squat

In addition to cardiovascular exercises, strength training programs that target cellulite-prone areas such as the buttocks and thighs will aid in reducing cellulite.

Squats are an excellent exercise because they target the lower body, primarily the quadriceps and gluteal and abdominal muscles and will enable you to build lean muscle. Additionally, muscles are metabolically active and burn more fat than any other type of tissue. Thus by performing squats, you will tone your body, burn calories and build lean muscles which in turn, will burn more calories.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand up straight with dumbbells or a medicine ball in your hands. Bend your knees and slowly lower your hips back and down. Remain in the squat for five seconds, and then return to the starting position, contracting your abdominal and gluteal muscles. Repeat for a total of 12 reps for three sets.

3. Lunge

Lunges are another strength training exercise that will tone your body, help in building lean muscles and reducing the appearance of cellulite on your legs and buttocks.

HOW TO DO IT: Start in a split stance with your dominant foot in front and the non-dominant foot behind. Bend both knees to 90 degrees. While performing a lunge, ensure that your chest straight and contract your abdominal muscles and hamstrings. Hold this position for five seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat for a total of 12 reps on each leg for three sets.

4. Glute Bridge

If you notice a lot of cellulite on your butt, the glute bridge is one of the best exercises to strengthen your underlying glute muscles.

HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet near your butt. Extend your arms along your side and press into your feet and arms. Lift your hips and back off the ground. Hold for five seconds before lowering back down. Repeat for a total of 15 reps for three sets.

5. Step-Up

Here's one more fantastic lower-body exercise which targets the same area as that pesky cellulite.

HOW TO DO IT: Find a step, chair or bench that can support your weight. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step up onto the bench, starting with your left leg. Once both feet are on the bench, step down, this time leading with the right leg. Repeat for a total of 12 reps on each leg for three sets.

Help your sore muscles while increasing circulation and reducing cellulite. (Image: tommasolizzul/iStock/GettyImages)

6. Foam Rolling

One additional thing that can help make cellulite less visible is making sure that you get good circulation to your muscles. And foam rolling can help with that.

"Because the foam roller helps break up those dense areas and blockages we all get in our fascia, it helps to boost circulation and improve lymphatic drainage," says says Lauren Roxburgh, alignment expert, personal trainer and author of "Taller, Slimmer, Younger." "All of this keeps your fascia healthy, and that helps to prevent that pesky fat from pushing through to the skin."

HOW TO DO IT: Place the foam roller under your calves, thighs or hips and roll your body over it. Allow your body weight to press into the roller and stop and work on places that feel tight.

What Do YOU Think?

Do you have cellulite? Are you trying to get rid of it? What are you doing to reduce the appearance of cellulite? Have you changed your diet? Started doing more cardio? What strength-training exercises are you doing? Will you do any of the above exercises as part of your routine? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!

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