Losing weight can bring the pride of looking great and living healthier. However, no one wants to spend hours in the gym to lose all that fat only to be stuck with saggy skin. This problem is especially prevalent in the midsection where belly fat can really stretch the skin. While there are many factors that affect your skin's ability to shrink back down, some ab exercises could influence how firm your skin appears to be.
Causes of Loose Skin
Loose skin around the stomach occurs when you rapidly lose a lot of weight. For some women, this happens after childbirth. For other people, this is the result of losing 100 pounds or more through diet and exercise. As you gain weight, the elastic properties of your skin allow it to stretch to accommodate your growing size. When you lose weight, your skin starts to shrink back to fit your new form. However, this process can take up to two years and may still leave loose skin after that.
Factors in Elasticity
Not everyone's skin can go back to its original form after weight loss. That's because many factors affect skin's elasticity, which is what determines its ability to stretch and shrink. Age is one factor; younger people tend to have more elastic skin, so their skin can return to normal more readily after weight loss than that of an older person. Poor nutrition, dehydration, smoking and too much sun exposure can also cause skin to lose its elasticity and prevent it from getting as firm as it could.
Exercises to Tighten Skin
While your body will naturally help loose skin become firmer after weight loss, you can enhance this process by doing core-strengthening exercises. This will build muscle and help fill out small amounts of remaining loose skin. Do exercises such as crunches, situps and planks to tighten the abs and fill out the front of your stomach. Side bridges and side bends can help tone your obliques and fill out the sides of your midsection. Pelvic tilts and supermans can tighten and fill out your lower back, contributing to a firmer core.
The bottom line is that you might not be able to get rid of all the loose skin left around your stomach after rapid weight loss. This is because you lost fat faster than your skin could respond and it didn't have time to shrink with your body. Keeping weight loss gradual can help your skin better adjust to your changing body, which could result in less loose skin once you reach your ideal size. Also, drinking plenty of water, exfoliating and properly caring for your skin can aid with elasticity, skin circulation and cell turnover, which may help your skin get firmer more quickly.