Resistance Training May Help Counteract Skin Aging, New Research Shows

27 December 2023

Lifting weights not only keeps you fit but may also enhance your skin’s appearance, according to a recent study published in Scientific Reports.

New research suggests that resistance training, commonly known as weight lifting or strength training, may have significant benefits for skin health. While previous studies have shown that aerobic exercise can improve the skin, this study explores whether resistance training can provide additional advantages. The findings reveal that resistance training can enhance the elasticity of the skin, increase collagen production, and thicken the dermal layer, resulting in a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance.

How Exercise Impacts Skin

The study, conducted by researchers at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, involved 56 sedentary middle-aged Japanese women. Half of the participants engaged in cycling for 30 minutes twice a week, while the other half lifted weights for the same duration. Before and after the 16-week study, the researchers analyzed the participants’ skin cells in a lab.

The results showed that both aerobic exercise and resistance training improved the skin’s elasticity and increased the expression of collagen-producing genes. Additionally, both forms of exercise enhanced the dermis’s extracellular matrix, which consists of collagen and elastic fibers that deteriorate with age and sun exposure. However, the researchers discovered that weightlifting thickened the dermal layer, leading to less sagging, fewer pigmented spots, and an overall more youthful appearance.

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Lingering Questions About Exercise’s Effect on Skin

While the study suggests that resistance exercise can potentially rejuvenate facial appearance, it focused solely on the skin’s inner layer. Further research is needed to determine whether these changes in the dermis would result in visible skin benefits. Additionally, it remains unknown whether the benefits of weightlifting would diminish once the exercise routine is discontinued.

Working Out for Skin Health

Experts recommend incorporating both aerobic exercise and resistance training into one’s exercise routine to improve skin health. The study emphasizes that a combination of these exercises may yield the best results. It is important to note that the benefits of exercise on the skin do not negate the harmful effects of other factors such as smoking and sun exposure. Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and protecting the skin from damage are crucial for optimal skin health.

Conclusion: The latest research highlights the potential benefits of resistance training in counteracting skin aging. While previous studies have focused on the positive effects of aerobic exercise on the skin, this study suggests that weightlifting may provide additional advantages. By improving elasticity, increasing collagen production, and thickening the dermal layer, resistance training may contribute to a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance. However, further research is needed to fully understand the impact of exercise on the outer layer of the skin and whether these benefits are temporary or long-lasting. In the meantime, experts recommend incorporating a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training into one’s fitness routine for optimal skin health.

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