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Does Yoga or Running Tighten Loose Tummy Skin?

By Van Thompson

When you work months or even years to lose weight, you might be disappointed to see loose, saggy skin, particularly on your tummy. There's no quick fix for sagging skin, and even if running and yoga helped you lose weight, they won't typically help you tighten up your skin. Instead, some people opt for surgery after massive weight loss.

Why Skin Gets Saggy

When you gain weight, your skin has to stretch to accommodate the excess bulk, which is why you might have stretch marks. When you lose the weight, though, your skin doesn't automatically shrink back down to its original size. Genetic factors, such as the amount of collagen you have in your skin, can affect whether and when your skin shrinks back down to its normal size. People who lose massive amounts of weight may never see a return to their skin's previous condition.

Shedding Fat and Toning Muscle

Yoga, particularly yoga poses that require you to support your body weight, can help you build muscle. Toned abs can help conceal the look of loose skin, but yoga won't stop the sagging altogether. Running is a cardiovascular activity that burns the calories that your body converts to energy and fat. If you still have excess fat on your tummy, running can help you look better, but running won't decrease the amount of skin you have or change its appearance.

The Wait-and-See Approach

It takes time for your body to adjust to weight loss, and some people find that their skin steadily shrinks over time. Columbia Health recommends giving your skin about two years to return to normal. People who lose less than 50 pounds are more likely to see their skin return to its original state.

Surgical Treatment

While creams and gimmicks might promise to repair your skin, the truth is that nothing will change your skin except for time and surgery. Body contouring surgery is an increasingly popular option among people who have lost weight, and according to a 2013 article in "OR Nurse," it can help improve weight-loss patients' self-esteem. Talk to your doctor to learn if this surgery is an option for you.

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