Do you have cellulite?  Does the skin on your thighs, hips and stomach resemble pitted orange skin when you pinch it? It probably is cellulite, although some medics dismiss cellulite as just womanly fat!  But cellulite is different, and that ugly, dimpled skin stubbornly fails to shift, even after slimming! 

So what causes cellulite? It’s to do with women’s hormonal make-up and by retention of excess fluid, and an accumulation of excess fat. The combination of fats, water and toxins trapped in the connective skin tissue results in that orange peel appearance, particularly noticeable when the muscles are contracted. In obesity the fat is spongy, flabby – but smooth. Cellulite is not unhealthy, it’s not life threatening, it’s just not attractive! However Cellulite should not be confused with cellulitis. (An inflammation of the skin with a hardened shiny appearance). 

Cellulite occurs in the middle layer of the skin (dermis)) when there is an abnormal accumulation of fat, and toxins (found in coffee, tea, cigarettes and alcohol) and fluids. Fatty cells accumulate to form nodules and

Collagen (a protein) then surrounds the nodules, which become more isolated. Blood capillaries around the nodules become compressed leading to bad circulation. Plasma is excreted, creating an oedema (water retention) and an accumulation of toxins. With the congestion the blood and lymph systems are rendered inefficient.  The skin becomes pitted and takes on the appearance of orange peel.

The female ovary secretes two hormones that play a crucial role in woman’s menstrual, and gestation cycle. The hormone Oestrogen causes water retention, and the hormone Progesterone helps to combat it. An equilibrium results in a  healthy balance, but an excess upsets the balance.  For example if there is a surfeit of oestrogen, water, fats and toxic wastes are retained in the connective tissue, and poor circulation makes the condition worse.  A woman’s menstrual cycle creates natural fluctuations in the level of female hormones each month.

But Hormonal changes are not the only cause.  Circulatory disorders can cause water retention in the tissues of the skin (oedema of legs and ankles).  Tight elastic socks, hold-up stockings, panties, girdles and bras can block the circulatory system (lessening the supply of oxygen to the tissues).  Standing or Sitting in one position, especially with legs crossed impairs the lymphatic system’s circulation and drainage encouraging cellulite. Leading a sedentary life, sitting for long periods at a PC or factory bench encourages bad circulation, and lack of exercise also emphasises the infamous English pear shape! Smoking reduces the skins elasticity making bulges more visible.

Anti-cellulite products, creams, gels and lotions may help. They do not upset the body’s equilibrium; they work on localized areas improving the look and feel of the skin. Exercise will help blood circulation, and toning will benefit the stomach, bottom and leg muscles helping to keep your body free of cellulite. Let’s get down to work…..

Ex 1   Kick back….. To tone the bottom and thighs.

Kneel on floor with hands and knees comfortably apart.  Drop head down, lift left knee and bring to forehead, pull in tummy muscles an arch up your back. Now with a smooth movement look up and at the same time kick leg out behind you.  Repeat 10 times. Change legs and repeat exercise.

Ex 2   Lean back…. to tighten the bottom and tone thighs.

Kneel up straight, arms to your sides. Using your thigh and bottom muscles slowly take your upper body backwards with control and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Ex 3   Bottoms up…..to tighten bottom and tone tum.

Lie on back with arms to sides, knees bent, shoulder width apart, feet flat on floor. Clench buttocks, lift pelvis up and transfer weight onto shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds.  Relax down and repeat 10 times

Ex 4   Side rolls ….to tone bottom and thighs

Sit up with back straight, stretch arms and legs out.  Cross right leg over left at ankles. Clench and lift your bottom, rolling from side to side 10 times. Change legs and continue rocking and rolling 10 times

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