Slow the Clock on Your Aging Skin

"Everyone should be lifting weights."

That's what I told hundreds of folks at the annual Stansberry Research Conference and Alliance Meeting last year in Boston.

And it's still true... This is one of the most important things folks should be doing every day for a longer, healthier, and happier life.

Weightlifting is a form of resistance exercise that builds muscle, improves balance, and strengthens your bones.

It also causes another surprising change that helps stave off the aging process...

Healthier skin.

As we age, our skin changes. It naturally becomes thinner as our collagen breaks down and our cells divide more slowly. This means our skin is more prone to damage – like bruises, cuts, and tears. It also takes longer to heal.

But according to a new study, hitting the weights at the gym twice a week can help...

Researchers from Ritsumeikan University in Japan compared the effects of aerobic training (bike riding) and resistance training (weightlifting) on the facial skin of 56 women in their 40s and 50s.

They split the women up into two groups. One group was assigned to 30 minutes of cycling on a stationary bike, twice a week, and the other group was assigned to 30 minutes of weightlifting, twice a week.

The researchers took baseline measurements of the elasticity, thickness, and structure of the women's skin.

Then, for 16 weeks, the participants performed their assigned exercise intervention while being supervised by trainers...

For each session, folks in the biking group did a three-minute warmup at 60 rotations per minute ("rpm"), followed by 30 minutes of cycling at 65% to 70% of their peak heart rate, and finished it off with a three-minute cooldown at 60 rpm.

Folks in the weightlifting group used six different machines in their sessions: leg curl, leg extension, arm curl, rowing, shoulder press, and chest press. They had a five repetition ("reps") warmup at each machine using half the "maxed out" amount of weight they could lift at the start of the study. Then they completed 3 sets of 10 reps on the machine. And throughout the 16 weeks, the amount of weight they lifted gradually increased.

After 16 weeks, measurements were taken again.

The researchers found that both methods of exercise reduced signs of inflammation in the blood, improved skin elasticity, and improved the skin's structure.

However, folks in the weightlifting group also experienced thickening in the dermal layer of the skin – where the nerves, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels (part of the immune system) reside. The dermal layer also houses your hair follicles and sweat glands. It protects the skin, helps you better regulate your body temperature, and plays a role in your ability to feel things.

So if you're not lifting weights already, here's another reason to start.

The key is to go at the right pace for you...

One way to do that is by consulting with an experienced personal trainer. They'll assess how much weight is the correct amount for you to start with, and they'll take a look at your form while you're doing the weightlifting exercises to make sure you're positioning yourself properly and won't end up hurting yourself. Together, you'll set goals and develop a workout routine.

Lots of gyms – like Planet Fitness, for example – have trainers that you can consult with for free if you're a member. Getting a recommendation from a friend who works with a personal trainer is another a great way to find someone. Check with your local senior center to see if they offer any weightlifting classes.

You can also get started on your own at home with some dumbbells. You can find dumbbells as light as 1 pound. But if you have movement restrictions, I'd suggest consulting with a personal trainer or physical therapist first.

Also, remember that your body is a weight, too. So even if you're not physically holding a weight, simply lifting your limbs up and against gravity is weightlifting.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
October 17, 2023