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Health and wellbeing | 21.07.2014

The benefits of exercise for healthy skin

Scientists studying the benefits of exercise for healthy skin came up with some amazing research results, published in the New York Times in April.

The researchers studied the buttock skin of 29 men and women aged 20 to 84. They found that those participants over the age of 40 who had exercised regularly had skin composition more like that of a 20 year-old.

But there was no way to tell whether this was an effect of the exercise, genetics or lifestyle factors.

They then asked a group of sedentary volunteers aged 65 or older to start exercising.

After three months, the scientists biopsied the volunteers' skin and found the inner and outer layers looked more like the skin of a 20- to 40-year-old!

Exercise had definitely changed the composition of their skin, though exactly HOW, was the million-dollar question.

One theory was the effect of raised 'myokines'. These are substances emitted  into the bloodstream during exercise.

One myokine, called IL15, was greatly increased, leading the researchers to conclude that the additional myokines must be related to the skin changes that occur through exercise.

But you don't have to be a scientist to know your skin looks so much better when you exercise. It takes on a certain glow — and here's why:

5 benefits of exercise for healthy skin

1. It promotes circulation and the increased blood flow carries oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, therefore keeping your skin healthy and vibrant

2. It flushes cellular debris like free radicals out of the body

3. It reduces stress which can improve skin conditions exacerbated by stress including acne and eczema

4. Strenuous exercise makes you sweat, which purges toxins that can clog pores and lead to pimples and acne. (It's important to cleanse your face after exercise to remove the toxins)

5. It's anti-aging – our skin loses its plumping, youthful layer of fat as we age. If you build up the lean muscle mass that's just below the surface of the skin, it creates younger, taut looking skin.

HOT TIP: The best anti-aging exercise is RESISTANCE training, where you use your own bodyweight to challenge your muscles, e.g. lunges and push-ups).

Don't forget to protect your skin from the sun if exercising outdoors with a natural sunscreen and ALWAYS drink enough water to stay well hydrated during exercise (dehydration is super aging for the skin).

@bymukti

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