The Effects Of Exercise On Your Skin

Original article by Sukhi Kambo, Clinical Exercise Specialist at Copeman Health Clinic

As our largest organ, our skin is always on display. It comes as no surprise most of us do our utmost to keep it soft, supple and unblemished.

Often the state of our internal health is reflected on our face in the form of dark under-eye circles, acne or dull, lifeless skin, thanks to late nights, stress, poor eating habits and even sedentary behaviour.

Believe it or not, the rewards of exercise extend far beyond adding muscle tone or slimming down. Exercise also helps improve the look, feel and age of your skin.

We all know the benefits of physical activity to other organs like the heart and musculoskeletal systems, but how exactly does it keep our skin looking young?

It strengthens our collagen

Collagen is the fibrous protein that creates dermal structure. In our 30s, this structure begins to break down, causing skin to become thinner and sag. Fortunately, exercise promotes collagen in skin cells, which makes your skin age more slowly.

It reduces fine lines and wards off free radicals

Endorphins are the “feel good chemicals” released when we exercise. When we’re relaxed and happy, the fine lines around the face are reduced, as is the release of certain hormones which trigger unwanted skin conditions.

Exercise helps us deal with stress, anxiety and feelings of losing control, all of which can trigger free radical damage. Free radicals, or unpaired hydrogen ions, can be a nightmare as they damage the skin cell membranes, causing collagen breakdown, which in turn leads to wrinkles. Stress is a normal part of life, but how we choose to deal with it can determine the quality of our lives. I often recommend various forms of yoga and restorative activities, such as hiking, that put us in touch with nature. This lowers our stress hormone levels and allow our endocrine system to function optimally.

It increases circulation to the skin

When we exercise, our heart rate increases and circulates more oxygen to the skin. Drawing blood to the surface of the body transports nutrients to our skin cells and helps remove toxins from the skin. Any increase to the body’s circulation will boost detoxification and cell renewal.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

It prevents toxin build up

Our skin is more than just a protective covering for the body -; it is also an organ of elimination. If our bowel flora are depleted, or our liver is overtaxed, then the primary organs of elimination-the liver, intestines, and kidneys-require help from the skin. The result can be eczema, pimples, rashes, and dull-looking skin.

Body toxins are expelled through the sweat glands; therefore, sweating during exercise is a great way to eliminate wastes. While sweat helps remove toxins from our skin cells, it’s important to shower after exercise to remove those toxins from the surface of our skin and avoid reabsorption and clogged pores.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your skin healthy and supple, consider adding a kinesiologist-prescribed workout routine to your beauty regimen.