Skin Tightening Through Exercise or Weight Lifting?

I am over 55, with poor genes, and a lot of sagging on my body (arms, legs, butt, etc.) I don't want the scars of an arm lift, but I would be agreeable to have a body lift. However I would also like to know, is there anything that can help with sagging aside from surgery? Is it possible to tighten skin through exercise or weight lifting?

Doctor Answers 3

Exercise does not tighten skin

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While I do recommend regular exercise for general health, it is important to have the right expectations. It does not tighten skin. The degree to which skin shrinks with weight loss is determined by its natural elastic tone, which isn't as good for someone in their 50's as someone in ther 20's for example.

There are some non-surgical technologies which can tighten skin such as Thermage but the effects are not usually dramatic especially after weight loss; again, a matter of appropriate expectations. So do continue with your exercise regimen but don't expect to see the skin tighten as a result.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Exercise Can't Tighten Skin

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Exercise and a healthy diet are great for your general health and offers a host of anti-aging benefits. However, this lifestyle cannot tighten your skin, especially when sagging is very apparent. You can try nonsurgical methods of skin tightening, such as laser skin tightening and micro needling, however results tend to be unpredictable and may require several sessions. Best of luck!

Exercise alone may not be enough to rid excess skin from massive weight loss

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Dear Francy,

Given your age and the sagging you described of your arms, legs and buttocks, I think it would be difficult to tighten your skin through exercise and weight lifting. 

The arms are one of the more difficult areas to exercise.  You would have to exercise your triceps to fill out all that skin on your arms.  This would be very difficult.  In addition, you would have to exercise your quadriceps and your legs to fill out the excess skin in the inner legs.  Buttocks would require a significant amount of StairMaster but would also be difficult to fill out all the excess skin. 

Since you are agreeable to a body lift, I would proceed with a body lift which should significantly improve your abdomen, lateral thighs, lateral legs and buttocks. 

You should see how the scar heals and may realize that the scars are not as bad as you expected.  Hopefully the scars will be much more acceptable than having excess skin and fat. 

Getting rid of excess skin is always a trade off.  You have to decide whether it is worth getting rid of the excess skin and fat and living with the scar or putting off living with the excess skin and fat of your arms and inner legs. 

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 254 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.