While most types of regular exercise can promote healthy aging, scientists say resistance training may offer additional benefits to aging skin.
Research suggests that aerobic exercise can help counteract skin aging. Yet, few studies have examined the potential skin rejuvenating effects of other forms of exercise, like resistance training — AKA weightlifting or strength training.
In a study published on June 23 in Scientific Reports, researchers compared the effects of aerobic and resistance training on skin aging in 56 healthy but inactive middle-aged Japanese women.
The study participants engaged in a 16-week training intervention with certified trainers that included two exercise sessions per week. One group completed aerobic training, and another group engaged in resistance training.
The scientists measured various factors in the participants' plasma before and after the intervention.
After examining the data, the researchers found that both exercise types improved skin elasticity and upper dermal structure. However, resistance training also boosted dermal thickness, which was linked to increased expression of proteoglycan-related genes, including biglycan (BGN). Proteoglycans help support skin's firmness.
In addition, blood samples taken from participants showed that resistance training decreased the circulating levels of molecules like CCL28, N,N-dimethylglycine, and CXCL4, which can suppress BGN expression.
Although the findings suggest that weightlifting may be an anti-aging strategy for aging skin, the study's duration was short — only 16 weeks — and included a small number of participants. In addition, the researchers did not use a control group to compare aerobic and resistance training with no exercise.
Still, exercise can help keep skin healthy by increasing circulation. So, working out, along with protecting the skin from sun exposure, avoiding smoking, and eating a healthy diet might be an effective strategy to prevent premature skin aging.