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Does Exercising Help Get Rid of Cellulite?

author image Lily Medina
As a professional copywriter since 2004, Lily Medina researches to expand her expertise in technology, parenting, education, health, fitness and writing. She has also taught high school and worked as a copy editor. Medina majored in political theory at Patrick Henry College.
Does Exercising Help Get Rid of Cellulite?
Strength-training exercise that target the legs, thighs and butt help reduce cellulite.

Cellulite causes skin to look dimpled and bumpy instead of smooth. This condition generally affects women rather than men, and it appears most commonly on the butt, thighs and sometimes the stomach. Having a healthy weight and a toned body plays an important role in reducing cellulite, although it does not cure the condition. Nevertheless, you can significantly reduce its appearance.

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Weight and Cellulite

Having too little muscle and too much fat can cause or worsen cellulite, but even healthy, slender people can have it. The International Dermal Institute explains that 80 to 90 percent of adult women display this condition -- and, of course, it is not true that 90 percent of women have too much fat. Clearly, other factors affect the existence of cellulite. Scientists point to fluid retention and lost skin elasticity as well as a fat-and-muscle imbalance. Hence, exercise cannot offer a perfect cure, especially for an active, fit woman of a healthy weight.

Burning Calories to Reduce Fat

A review of research on cellulite treatment, published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, notes that diet and exercise can improve the look of cellulite. Exercise burns calories and helps reduce your excess fatty tissue. Cellulite makes skin look bumpy because fat tissue bulges out between the connective tissue just under your skin. As you lose excess fat, the fat bulges less, and it lays flatter and closer to the connective tissue, smoothing the appearance of your skin.

Strength Training to Increase Muscle

As cellulite can stem from an imbalance of muscle tissue and fat tissue, building muscle helps just as much as losing fat. Toning your muscles helps give your body a smooth, firm appearance, whereas weak or flaccid muscles exacerbate the bumpy, uneven look of cellulite. In addition to doing cardio to lose weight, you should also devote time to working your muscles. Choose exercises that target the location of your cellulite. For example, if you have cellulite on your bum, then leg presses, lunges and squats will increase muscle tissue and make your butt look smoother and firmer.

Combining Exercise with Diet

Exercise plays a key role in weight loss, but it only works effectively when coupled with proper food intake. To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn each day. Regular exercise helps your body burn more calories and boost your metabolism overall. To ensure your weight-loss success, however, you should combine exercise with counting calories.


Although many women who have cellulite can lose weight healthily, some thin women also have cellulite. Sufficiently slender or underweight women should not lose weight just to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

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