Skin Benefits from Exercise
Working out can turn back the clock on the signs of aging.
You know that exercising regularly is key to maintaining your heart health and waistline but did you know your complexion can also reap the benefits of gym time or a walk around the block?
From release of toxins to stress relief and increased blood flow, physical activity can enhance your skin’s health and appearance. And according to scientific research, moderately paced aerobic exercise may even help you look years younger!
Sweat and Your Skin
When you “break a sweat,” your glands are secreting fluids to help regulate your body temperature. But those beads of perspiration have a bonus effect for your skin, stimulating the release of environmental pollutants, dirt, and oil that collect on the skin throughout the day. Left on the skin, these toxins and pollutants can clog pores, leading to blemishes.
After a workout, be sure to cleanse your skin in order to remove sweat and toxins. And apply moisturizer to replenish lost moisture.
Keep the Blood Flowing for a Healthy Glow
Have you ever noticed that after a spin class or a run, your skin seems to glow? That’s due to your elevated heart rate. Cardiovascular or “aerobic” exercise boosts circulation, resulting in increased blood flow, which transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and the skin. While you might notice the post-exercise flush by the time you’re headed home, with consistent workouts, the benefits of increased blood flow will last long after your shower.
Work Out for Fewer Wrinkles
Can time on the treadmill lead to smoother skin? Steady exercise can reduce elevated cortisol levels, which are associated with collagen loss and wrinkles. And the benefits don’t stop there. Weight-lifting and resistance exercises like pushups and pullups appear to improve the function of mitochondria, the energy-generators of cells. Without mitrochondria, which don’t function as well as you age, your body can’t produce the collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid you need to keep skin firm, hydrated, and healthy.
Stress & Your Skin
Your body and your skin both take a beating from stress so the best skin care routines should include stress reduction. Elevated stress can impact skin in different ways, including increased inflammation that can exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and acne. In addition, the skin’s hyaluronic acid production is suppressed, leading to dry, dull skin.
Chronic stress can also wear down your immune system, which leaves you more susceptible to infections like cold sores and can also delay the healing process by impairing the skin’s protective outer layer. Anxiety and stress can change the skin at the cellular level, leading to shortened telomeres, the protective “caps” at the end of each chromosome that preserve DNA. This process happens naturally with age but stress can accelerate the process, causing cellular damage and signs of aging such as wrinkles.
Did you know that getting 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night is one of the most important things you can do to protect your skin from premature aging? As you sleep, your skin manufactures new collagen as part of a repair process. Getting by on 5 hours a night will lead to twice as many wrinkles as sleeping 7 hours would. Circulation gets a boost while you snooze so skipping out on sleep leaves your skin less vibrant. A lack of sleep also causes dark under-eye circles and puffy eyes.
How does exercise fit into this equation? Regular workouts reduce stress, strengthen circadian rhythms, and can even bring on sleepiness at bedtime. However, when you choose to exercise may boost the effects. For the best night’s sleep, avoid strenuous workouts in the late evening or right before bed. If you do choose to get in some pre-snooze movement, try yoga or stretching, which can help you relax.
The Bottom Line
Including regular workouts in your routine will not only provide overall health benefits but is also an important component to improve the condition and appearance of your skin. Perspiration, which has the purpose of regulating body temperature, also provides a mechanism for detoxification and cleansing, while a boost to the circulatory system provides a vibrant glow.
Exercise is an effective tool to delay the effects of premature aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of firmness. If you needed another reason to exercise, workouts may even create changes in the cells that keep your skin looking young. Exercise may really be the fountain of youth!
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