Lifestyle & Retirement

Follow these tips to help deal with that ugly cellulite

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There’s nothing cute about these dimples.

Cellulite is a nasty reality for nearly all women. But most don’t really understand what causes the ripples and bumps that invade their thighs, buttocks and even the mid-section, says John Kent, owner of the North Pinellas and Westchase Adventure Boot Camps for Women.

He explains cellulite by comparing it to a skinless chicken breast. The filmy fiber around the meat is like the human collagen fiber net that connects skin and muscle. Excess fat on those cords adds pressure, the gooey mess oozes through the net, and — voila! — visible dimples appear.

Genetics is the top reason that 80 percent of all women have cellulite, according to the National Institutes of Health, which means there is little anyone can do to completely avoid it.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic say losing pounds and strengthening muscles in your legs, thighs and buttocks can improve the appearance of the dimpled skin. "The benefits of weight loss alone are limited, however," they warn. "Though the cellulite may be less noticeable after weight loss, it won’t go away completely."

It’s not all gloom and dimply doom, though. Kent says with a proper diet, exercise and a few tricks, the damage can be minimized. His top solutions include:

Hydration. Bodybuilders are famous for dehydrating themselves to show off every muscle contour. The same idea also applies to cellulite ripples. "Anything that makes that net tighter is a not a good thing," Kent says. Hydrate your body to help smooth your bumps.

Roll it. A number of popular treatments involve deep tissue massage, something Kent says can work with foam rollers. It’s painful, but breaking up the subcutaneous fat can help smooth out the lumps. "You’ve got all this unused fat oozing out, and you need to roll it out," he says.

Work out. Key exercises include a balance of cardio, flexibility and strength training, Kent says. That includes boot camp classics such as squats, lunges and straight-leg dead lifts. Kent says many women think they need to exercise at warp speed to get results. Instead, he says to attack cellulite by increasing your workout gradually. Change will come, if you stick with it. "You don’t have to be perfect. You just need to do a little more than you’re used to doing," he says.

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Copyright (c) 2010, Tampa Tribune, Fla. 

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