Does Exercise Tighten Loose Skin?
On Instagram on other social media channels, there are countless ads and trainers telling you that exercise will help your skin regain elasticity. Surely you’ve seen them right? But NO, exercise will not make loose skin tighter. These promos seem to target the abs, lower back, love handles, and women’s triceps area.
But will exercise tighten up skin in a flabby area?
Think about this for a moment – when you exercise you’re training the muscles beneath the skin? How could exercise possibly make your skin tighter? In fact, it is possible that exercise may make your skin look even looser! Wait? What?
If you lose a fair amount of fat, the skin could be looser due to less volume beneath it. Does that make sense? It all depends on how much weight we’re talking about and how badly stretched (damaged) your skin is.
Regular exercise may help release and regulate hormones in the body that may help make skin appear more youthful. Your skin may also look better and be healthier if you’re also following a better diet. Plus, adequate hydration is also certainly good for the appearance of your skin. We all know that.
Some fitness ‘pros’ will tell you that by exercising a muscle and making it bigger, it can essentially fill out an area of loose skin. This is ridiculous as the amount of size you’d have to add to a muscle to stretch skin is enormous. Most people will lose far more fat in weight and volume then they’ll ever gain in muscle. Keep in mind, one pound of fat is about 3 – 5 times the size of one pound of muscle. Do you see my point?
The single biggest reason for loose, saggy skin is aging combined with muscle loss. When we age our body produces less collagen and elastin, which makes up the supporting tissue of the skin. Our hormone levels also drop, namely testosterone and growth hormone (yes women too) and we lose muscle mass.
If you’ve lost a bit of weight, or stretched your skin due to pregnancy, then there’s a chance it won’t ‘go back’ or return to its prior state. Stretch marks in skin are actually tears that will never close or regain their prior tightness. And I should remind all of you that excessive sun exposure can also speed this process up as well as potentially give you skin cancer. Also, genetics plays a huge role – some people just have more elastic skin and it bounces back better.
But all hope is not lost. In addition to eating well and exercising, there are some supplements that may help with loose skin. They’re not miracle workers though, so don’t expect skin like you had in your 20’s. You could try a collagen support supplement. Look for brands that use peptides (building blocks) of collagen. When ingested, they can help your body make more collagen and may improve your skins appearance. I’ve tried bovine collagen to help heal from surgeries and I think it helps. Collagen doesn’t just support just the skin, but hair, nails, tendons, ligaments and other soft tissues too.
Like any supplement, you’ll only reap the benefits as long as you take them. That’s something to consider when you’re thinking of adding something to your daily supplement routine.
As a side not, years ago I worked with a dermatologist who quickly told me that skin creams and lotions are a complete waste. True skin health comes the inside out is a direct result of your diet. Sure, rubbing a cream over dry skin make it appear to look better, but really it’s just covering the dry skin.