Arrow-right Camera

Arts & Entertainment

Best Thigh Aids Are A Good Diet And Exercise

MONDAY, JAN. 1, 1996

Women have not bonded with their thighs. Most females can carry on a long discussion lamenting the shortcomings of their own personal thighs (especially the back part of the upper leg). Their thighs are too hefty, too skinny, the wrong shape, too flabby and in most cases demonstrate signs of the dreaded, pitted “cellulite.”

Cellulite is a dimpled, fluffy look, that happens when fibrous connective tissues lock in pockets of excess fat. According to experts, cellulite is no different from regular fat, it is just stored close to the skin in clumpy or honeycomb-like configurations. As the skin loses its elasticity, the clumps of fat become more obvious. With weight gain (which most often is deposited in the thigh) new fat cells are formed, or already existing cells become bigger, and the puckered cellulite presence becomes more profound.

The female hormone estrogen encourages women to store extra weight around the hips and thighs. Our female ancestors needed these extra stores of energy to provide nourishment during pregnancy. The resulting cellulite will usually increase when the amount of estrogen becomes higher such as during puberty or pregnancy.

Whether you have a tendency to get “cellulite of the thigh” will depend whether you have a “pear” or an “apple” body shape. If your extra fat seems to find its way to your abdomen or midsection you fall into the “apple category” and are less likely to have heavy thighs or cellulite. A “pear” shaped body will deposit fat cells around the hips and thighs and the extra fat will give the posterior thighs that egg carton appearance. However, studies indicate that it is healthier to store extra weight around the hip-thigh region than at the midsection.

Can anything be done to create thighs that are easier for the female gender to accept - less cellulite, firmer muscles and more shapely? Most doctors refuse to address the cellulite/thigh concern because it is not a health issue. They suggest that the tendency to develop cellulite is inherited and there is little you can do.

Some salon skin-care professionals (aestheticians) believe that they can completely get rid of pitted thighs. Of course, the deeper the pits the more work that needs to be done. Others suggest temporary success through procedures such as body wraps, massage, special creams, diet and exercise.

What can be done about the shape and size of thighs? Realize that loss of skin elasticity contributes to the puckered appearance of the thigh tissue. Aging, smoking, excess tanning and extra fat all have a negative effect on fibrous connective tissue. The result is less elastic skin and thighs with craters.

You can have a very thin body type and still have lumpy thighs. If you find this to be true, exercise to tone the long muscles of the thigh and hip region. The muscled appearance will tone down the inherited cellulite tendencies.

“Spot reduction” type exercises seem to reduce the size of fat cells as muscles replace fat and, with a good diet, will reduce the appearance of cellulite. Exercises include specific strength training exercises for the legs, buttocks and thighs. A muscle is 37.5 times more metabolically active than the same amount of fat. The best way to lose fat is to exercise specifically to gain muscle. If you add one pound of muscle to your body you will require an additional 75 calories a day to maintain that muscle. Fat cells, however, only need two calories a day to survive.

Entire books about the thigh problems, such at “Hot Hips and Fabulous Thighs” by Ellington Darden, are available. Darden’s book has six weeks of menus and exercises to create “personalized thighs.”

Some massage therapists administer body wraps, body scrubs and special creams to help diminish the cellulite appearance. According to Patty McNaulty, a local licensed massage therapist, body wraps and massage can release metabolic wastes and fluids by breaking down the connective tissue surrounding fat. Many of these procedures will cause you to perspire, moving fluid out of the thigh area. The tissues seem to look healthier, and the client feels better, for at least a period of time. However, McNaulty admits that when body fluid is replaced the tendency to exhibit cellulite will continue.

Watch your diet. Eating certain foods that make you retain water will affect the shape and enlarge the crater-like appearance of your thighs. Eating fatty foods that make your fat cells grow larger or increase the number of fat cells will affect the size of your thighs.

Don’t expect your thighs to look like they did when you were 20 years old. Set realistic goals as wisdom and maturity replace giving a hoot about the size of those thighs.


Click here to comment on this story »