What Kind of Exercise is Good for Your Skin?
Exercise can be classified as aerobic or cardiovascular, strength training, stretching, and balance. All four types of exercise provide benefits for the skin.
Cardio: Also known as aerobic exercise, cardiovascular training challenges the heart and vascular systems to increase the heart’s ability to pump blood and distribute oxygen throughout the body. Cardio workouts include running or jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming, jumping rope, high-intensity interval training, dancing, jumping jacks, and boxing.
In addition to burning calories and boosting cardiovascular health, these workouts play a role in skin health. Researchers at Canada’s McMaster University discovered that people over 40 who participated in consistent cardiovascular activity had skin composition comparable to 20- to 30-year olds compared to their couch potato counterparts.
Strength Training: This workout relies on the use of resistance bands, free weights, machines, weight stacks, weight bars or even your own body weight to develop strength and size of skeletal muscles. Physically inactive people can lose up to 3-5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30 due to age-related sarcopenia. Muscle loss accelerates between 65-80 and is a major cause of falls and fractures in older adults.
Some degree of muscle loss is inevitable with age but a regular weight training program can delay the process and also provides benefits to the skin. According to the American Physiological Society, women who participate in resistance training produce greater amounts of growth hormone, which can aid in cellular repair. The hormone, produced by the pituitary gland, also stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collagen and elastin. As you age, collagen and elastin levels drop, causing signs of aging such as wrinkles, loss of firmness, and uneven skin tone.
Flexibility and Balance: As you age, it’s crucial to maintain flexibility and balance for more freedom of movement for everyday activities, as well as to avoid dangerous falls. These workouts include yoga and Tai Chi.
The inverted poses and forward bends of yoga increase blood flow to nerves beneath the face that are essential to skin cell renewal. Certain asanas or poses stimulate circulation, along with vinyasa flows that raise body temperature and sweat out toxins. Heart opening poses like triangle pose open lungs, chest, and your heart to deliver oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to the skin. Yoga also reduces stress, which can accelerate premature aging.
Tips for a Healthy Skin Workout
A consistent exercise program can help you maintain skin health. It’s important to remember these tips while you exercise to avoid workout-related skin issues.
Don’t forget the sunscreen. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher about 30 minutes before heading out for a power walk, run, or swim. Reapply every 2 hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Stay Hydrated. An hour or two before spin class, drink 15 to 20 ounces of water and follow this up with another 8 to 10 ounces about 15 minutes before your workout. Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you because you should be drinking 8 ounces every 15 minutes to replace lost fluids.
Keep Your Skin Naked. Your skin should be a blank canvas when you’re working out so remove all makeup. Cosmetics create a barrier on the skin, preventing your pores from releasing sweat and resulting in breakouts, blackheads, and skin irritation. If you must wear makeup, stick with an oil-free lightweight foundation, lip balm, and waterproof, silicon-based mascara.
Wash Your Face. Follow up your exercise session by washing your skin with a gentle cleanser like Simple Beauty Daily Purifying Cleanser, formulated with natural botanicals and shea butter to clear away impurities and excess oils while maintaining the skin’s moisture balance.
The Bottom Line
Consistent cardio or aerobics, strength training, flexibility, and balance exercises all provide benefits not only for overall health but also to delay the effects of skin aging such as loss of collagen and elastin. To protect skin from skin-related issues, be sure to apply sunscreen, stay hydrated, work out without makeup, and wash your face after a session.
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