Cottage cheese should only be a reference for the actual food, because no woman should ever have to worry about her thighs looking like the dimpled, lumpy food. Unfortunately it happens — even to the most avid exercisers and dieters. In fact, 90 percent of women suffer this condition in industrial nations. So, let's first look at the cause to understand the solution.
According to The Scientific American, cellulite occurs as women approach menopause and their estrogen levels decrease. This usually occurs around ages 25 to 35. As the estrogen decreases, so does your circulation. With less oxygen and nutrients, the collagen production levels decrease and the fat cells increase. When they begin to push through the thinning layer of collagen, they produce the bumpy look known as "cellulite." However, as a society we have become more sedentary. Cellulite didn't become a cultural issue, noted in publications, or research topic until the '70s and '80s.
While the root of the problem is much more complex than a simple active lifestyle (check out "The Cellulite Cure" by osteopathic physician Lionel Bissoon), keeping your circulation at its optimum rate is easier to fix with exercise. Here are 5 moves aimed at tightening the thighs, saddlebags and glutes, effectively getting rid of cellulite.
1. Plie Squat: Rather than standing with your feet hip-width apart and your toes forward, scoot your legs out a little wider and point each toe to the adjacent wall: left toes toward the left wall, right toes toward the right wall. Keep the same posture and technique as a regular squat. But, when you push back up to standing position, squeeze your inner thighs. Try to tuck your butt inwards and give a little pelvic thrust at the top to make sure you are targeting your inner thighs and outer thighs. Click here to see more photos!
2. Squats with an Exercise Ball: Perfect your range of motion with the squishy ball squat. Stand with feet about shoulder-width and hold the ball overhead.Hinge the hips backward and down as the upper body drops with them. Bring the ball down and in front of you at shoulder level. Even though you’re focusing on the ball in front of you, make sure the knees stay behind the toes and the chest is lifted. Exhale and push out of the squat to standing and lift the ball overhead again. See the move here.
3. Bridge: Lie down on your back with your arms comfortably at your sides and your feet tucked under your knees. Push through your heels and thrust your hips upward towards the ceiling. The upper part of your back and shoulder blades should be pressed into the mat or floor. Lower yourself back down and repeat the motion. For an extra degree of difficulty, do the lift on one leg! Check it out here.
4. Mountain Climber: This is a combination move. Start in a standing position. Bend down while placing your hands on the ground and kick your legs out. You should be in a plank position now. Kick your right leg up as close to your right hand as you can; this should feel like a very deep lunge. Pull that leg back and repeat on the left side. Then swing your right knee out to the side and tuck it on the outside of your shoulder. This is like a spiderman push up without the push up part. After each move has been done once on each side, jump or tuck your knees back in and stand up, returning to the start position. Read more here!
5. Side Leg Lift with a Resistance Band: Grab a resistance band and lay down on your right side with your legs straight. Wrap the band around your ankles. Lie on your right side with your legs straight, your left leg on top of your right. Use your right forearm as a kickstand, holding your upper body above the floor. Keeping your legs straight, raise your right leg as high as you can. Focus on keeping your knee straight. Lower your leg back to the starting position. Lift as many times as you can on this side for 30 seconds. Switch to your left side and complete as many side leg raises with band as possible for 30 seconds. Check it out here!