Exercise is the Secret to Younger, Healthier Skin at Any Age
It’s easy to forget that our skin is an organ. In fact, it’s our largest organ and protects all the other organs inside our bodies. Day in and day out it takes a beating from a variety of environmental factors. But what if there was a proven way to increase the health of your skin from the inside out?
We all know exercise is an important factor in our overall health, but now studies show that exercise is a critical factor in keeping our skin healthy.
Quick note: If you already have skin issues that could impede exercise, it’s best to get a handle on them as soon as possible so they don’t hinder your ability to work out. A visit to the dermatologist may be needed, especially if you are concerned about skin discolouration or moles. For other issues, like excess skin growths, natural skin tag removal products can be used to safely get rid of them so they don’t get aggravated during exercises.
Now let’s take a look at how exercise can have a positive impact on your epidermis:
Exercise to slow skin aging
New research shows that exercise positively impacts every layer of skin. It doesn’t just slow the aging process of skin – exercise can reverse it. These benefits are seen even if you start exercising later in life. These were the findings of studies done at McMaster University in Ontario.
As our skin ages, the outermost layer called the stratum corneum thickens while the lower layers of the dermis thin. The combination of these two things leads to sagging and wrinkles as the support system of skin worsens. These effects are inevitable with the passage of time and are independent of other factors, such as sun damage.
The researchers at McMaster University in Ontario first studied mice to determine that exercise could stave off and even reverse the natural aging of skin. They then studied human subjects and found the same results.
Even better, all it took was three hours a week of moderate to vigorous exercise to see the benefits. Subjects as old as 65 had skin that resembled a person in their 20s and 30s with a thin stratum corneum and thicker sub layers.
Exercise for better skin cell nourishment
When your heart is pumping during exercise blood flow is increased. This is a good thing because blood serves a vital function in the body. It carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, which keeps them healthy.
Blood also ushers waste away including free radicals that break down the skin. In essence, this rush of blood during exercise helps cleanse the skin on the inside.
Exercise to beat skin conditions
Did you know that some skin conditions are worsened by stress? Both acne and eczema can flare up during times of stress. The same hormones that are connected to stress are also linked to sebum oil production in the skin. So, anytime you can reduce stress you reduce the chance of clogging pores and skin irritation.
The good news is exercise is one of the most effective stress relievers. When you work out you get a rush of endorphins that help negate stress in the body. Studies have shown stress is reduced no matter what kind of physical activity you do as long as you get moving.
Just remember to protect your skin by layering on sunscreen if you plan to exercise outdoors. To minimise sun damage, try to work out before 10am and after 4pm when the solar rays aren’t as strong.
Physical activity can benefit your skin at every layer, but it can also exasperate problems if you don’t take precautions. Rosacea, psoriasis and eczema can temporarily flare-up because your body temperature increases during exercise and because of the salt in perspiration.
One way to circumvent these issues is to swim laps and participate in water aerobics. Water exercises will help keep body temperature in check while providing all the skin benefits of working out.
Exercise for mental health
It is well researched and documented that regular exercise is beneficial to mental health and easing symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. Find out more advice and mental health counselling.
Sleep is also vital for good health, whether we are young or older, but anxiety can have a negative effect on how well we sleep. Read this anxiety and sleep guide for further information.
- Thank you to Sara Stringer for contributing this post.