Saggy or loose skin is a common sign of aging. As you get older, your skin loses elasticity and no longer snaps back as tightly as it once did. This can leave you with drooping skin on areas like the upper arms, thighs, stomach, and buttocks. The good news is that while you can’t entirely eliminate saggy skin without surgery, you can minimize its appearance and improve tone with targeted exercise.
What causes saggy skin?
There are a few key factors that cause saggy skin:
- Aging – As you get older, your skin naturally loses elasticity as collagen and elastin production slow down. This causes the skin to droop.
- Sun damage – Years of sun exposure can damage collagen and elastin in the skin, reducing elasticity.
- Genetics – Some people are just prone to having looser skin that sags more easily.
- Weight loss – Losing a lot of weight quickly results in excess skin that lacks elasticity and appears saggy.
- Pregnancy – Abdominal skin can lose elasticity after pregnancy and childbirth due to stretched skin.
Can exercise tighten loose skin?
While exercise can’t entirely eliminate saggy skin, it can certainly help minimize its appearance and improve tone. Here’s how:
- Building muscle – Strength training to build muscle gives the skin less room to sag and makes it appear tighter.
- Cardio exercise – Aerobic exercise improves circulation and elastin/collagen production for tighter skin.
- Targeted moves – Specific exercises that target the muscles under saggy skin can give a lifting effect.
It’s important to have realistic expectations – you won’t be able to achieve the tight skin you had in your 20s. But a regular exercise routine can noticeably improve loose skin’s appearance.
Which exercises are best for saggy skin?
The most effective exercises for toning loose skin target the specific problem areas you want to improve. Here are some of the best saggy skin exercises:
- Arm circles
- Shoulder presses
- Bicep curls
- Tricep dips
- Leg raises
- Pelvic tilts
- Plank hold
- Leg adduction
- Inner thigh raise
- Glute bridges
- Donkey kicks
- Hip thrusts
Aim to do 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps of each exercise 2-3 times per week. Over time, you’ll notice your loose skin appears firmer and more toned.
How to maximize the toning effects
Here are some tips for getting the most skin-firming benefits from your workout routine:
- Hydrate – Stay hydrated to keep your skin supple and elastic.
- Moisturize – Use moisturizers with ingredients like collagen and elastin.
- Take supplements – Skin-supporting supplements can improve elasticity.
- Eat protein – Aim for 0.5-1g of protein per pound of body weight daily.
- Lose slowly – Slow, steady weight loss allows skin to adapt better.
- Use weights – Weight training is key for building muscle to fill out skin.
Other ways to tighten loose skin
While exercise is the best natural approach, other options can also improve saggy skin’s appearance. These include:
- Firming creams – Look for products with caffeine or retinol to temporarily tighten skin.
- Radiofrequency – This treatment uses energy waves to stimulate collagen for firmer skin.
- Ultrasound – Focused ultrasound waves deep-heat the skin to encourage collagen production.
- Surgery – Options like facelifts, tummy tucks, and arm lifts remove excess skin. Results are permanent.
Surgery leads to the most dramatic improvements, while the other treatments offer more subtle, temporary changes. The best approach depends on factors like your budget, downtime, and how much loose skin is bothering you.
Here are the key takeaways on toning saggy skin:
- You can’t completely eliminate loose skin without surgery, but you can minimize its appearance.
- Strength training to build muscle and cardiovascular exercise to improve circulation/collagen production are key.
- Targeted exercises that work the muscles under saggy areas offer the best results.
- Other helpful approaches include firming creams, radiofrequency, ultrasound treatments, and surgical procedures.
- Be patient and consistent with natural approaches like exercise for best results.
While saggy skin can be frustrating to deal with, having a strategic skincare and exercise routine can greatly improve its appearance and help you feel more comfortable in your body.
|Arm circles, shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep dips, pushups
|Crunches, leg raises, pelvic tilts, plank hold
|Squats, lunges, leg adduction, inner thigh raise
|Glute bridges, donkey kicks, hip thrusts, squats, lunges
How long until I see results from exercise?
It takes consistency and patience to see results. You may start to notice subtle improvements in skin tone within a few weeks. But it typically takes at least 2-3 months of regular strength training and cardio to notice significant tightening of loose skin.
Should I work out every day to tighten loose skin?
No, taking at least 1 rest day per week is important to allow your muscles time to recover and grow stronger. Aim for working the target areas with saggy skin about 2-3 times per week.
Does losing weight make loose skin worse?
It can temporarily. Quick weight loss doesn’t give the skin time to adapt, leading to looser skin. But staying fit and building muscle tone will improve its appearance over time. Focus on slow, sustainable weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week.
Should I use firming creams or lotions?
Yes, products containing ingredients like caffeine, retinol, or peptides can temporarily make skin appear tighter. Look for a body lotion or serum that specifically targets saggy skin and apply it daily post-shower for best results.
At what age does skin start to sag?
Skin elasticity starts decreasing in your 30s. Loose skin becomes more noticeable in your 40s and 50s. Genetics and sun damage accelerate the sagging process. Taking preventive steps by exercising and using sunscreen can delay saggy skin.