True beauty begins with how you feel, both physically and emotionally. Without a healthy body it is difficult to show the world your best face. This is why the foods you choose to fuel your body with have such an incredible effect on the health of your skin. However, keeping your body healthy and presenting your most radiant face to the world is about more than diet. There is another component that is just as important as your skin care regimen or diet for tapping into your full beauty potential. This component is physical exercise.
You know that regular exercise helps you lose those extra unwanted pounds, tone your muscles, improve flexibility, and even helps to keep your bones strong and healthy. You might exercise for any one of these reasons, or maybe for all of the benefits of fitness. It could also be that exercise is not so appealing for you and even though you know the benefits, getting motivated is just plain difficult. Whether you’ve had a routine for years, or trying to find one that works for you, learning something new about the benefits of exercise can get you reenergized about taking care of yourself through physical exercise. As we’ll discuss in this blog, exercise can do more than shrink your waistline. It can add to your quality of life. It can also improve the health of your skin, the reflection you see in the mirror and your self-confidence.
Exercise for Beauty: How Physical Activity Benefits Your Body
Regular exercise can improve a variety of skin conditions including dryness, acne, dullness and even sagging and wrinkles. Take a look at that last sentence for a moment. Everything from acne to wrinkles can be improved by exercise. This is quite a big claim, and you might be wondering how moving your body can produce such tremendous results. Here are just a few of the ways that exercising three or more times a week can lead to a healthier and more beautifully radiant complexion.
- You get an instant radiant glow. If you are feeling that your complexion just looks a little dull or that your face makes you look tired, even when you are not, try getting your heart pumping for thirty minutes. When your heart rate increases so does the flow of blood through your body. This increased circulation pushes more oxygen and nutrient- rich blood to your skins surface. The result is an instant, youthful glow that can last for hours. Additionally, if you suffer from any skin abrasions or wounds, the fresh, oxygen rich blood will also help promote faster healing.
- Your face isn’t the only place the benefits from the increase in circulation. Your hair follicles will also benefit from the additional oxygen and nutrients. You might not notice the effects of exercise immediately with your hair and condition of your scalp; however within a few weeks you might notice that you are losing less hair and that your hair has a new softness and strength to it that it might have been lacking before.
- Exercise might as helpful as acne medication in some cases because it helps address the root causes of acne, not just the symptoms. When you exercise you are doing a couple of different things that can improve the health of your skin. We have already mentioned the increase in circulation. It turns out in addition to a healthy glow, the extra blood flow combined with a little sweat will help draw toxins out of your body where they can be washed away rather than hanging around to clog pores and give rise to inflammatory conditions, such as acne. Additionally, regular exercise helps to control hormone levels, which is another major factor in the development of acne.
- Exercise can help prevent wrinkles. We all know that stress can do quite a number on our bodies, both inside and out. When you are stressed, you naturally produce more of the stress related hormone, cortisol. This is the hormone that is also famous for contributing to the accumulation of stubborn fat around the midsection. What you might not know about cortisol is that increased levels also break down the collagen in your skin. Once the collagen matrix is compromised you become more vulnerable to wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging skin. Exercise is one way to help keep your levels of stress at a manageable level so that extra cortisol doesn’t affect your health or appearance in a negative way.
These are just a few of the ways that regular exercise can directly affect your skin health. Did you know that there are also a number of ways that physical activity indirectly affects how beautiful you feel? What I am talking about here are the ways that the emotional benefits of exercise can make you feel younger, radiant and more alive. When you exercise you increase the levels of chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals help to keep you emotionally level, serene, and content. Think of the last time you looked directly at someone that felt happy and content. Perhaps it was you, or someone else, but my guess is that either way, the face that was presented to the world was absolutely beautiful. There is just no denying the beauty benefits of peace and fulfillment. Exercise will not solve all of your problems, however it will help you cope with the problems that you do have in a way that is beneficial for your health and your beauty.
Let’s say that you have spent thirty minutes or more today engaging in some form of physical exercise. You had the glow, and the immediate feelings of happiness afterwards. It is a few hours later and you are tired and ready for a long nights sleep. If you are usually a night owl, you might be wonder just what is going on. It just happens that exercise is providing you with yet another beauty benefit. Regular exercise helps promote regular and healthy sleep habits. The term “beauty sleep” isn’t just a phrase – it’s a real thing. When you sleep you give your body time to rest and repair. In fact, it is when you are sleeping that your body secretes a growth hormone that is responsible for repairing different body tissues, including the skin. The growth hormone that is at work while you are enjoying a blissful sleep helps to maintain the structure and integrity of the collagen in your skin. A compromised collagen matrix is one of the first things that can lead to premature signs of aging, so keeping it healthy can go quite a long way in preserving your physical radiance.
Knowing that exercise is so important to skin health and beauty, you might wonder if there is one type of exercise that is more beneficial than another for skin health. The answer to that question really depends on you. The types of exercises that you enjoy the most are going to be the ones that you are more likely to commit to on a regular basis. The more you enjoy doing something, the more content and accomplished you will feel after. However, if you don’t have a favorite physical activity that inspires you to commit to a regular routine, here are a few ideas for a variety of fitness levels.
- Walking: This is ideal for all fitness levels as it can easily be adapted to suit your needs. Aim for five thirty minute walks per week and build from there. Leisurely walks are great, but for the purpose of skin health, you want to increase the pace enough to get your heart pumping, yet still be able to carry on a normal conversation.
- Swimming: This is another great activity that can be adapted to a variety of accommodations and fitness levels. Swimming is especially great for people that have had some sort of injury or suffer from arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.
- Yoga and Pilates: They sound gentle, but there are styles of yoga and pilates that can really get your blood flowing. Additionally, some of the inverse positions of yoga will increase the blood flow to your facial skin and scalp, amplifying the benefits you are already receiving.
Again, it is all about what you enjoy. You might like something low key or you might prefer a challenge. Whatever inspires you is what will help you transform into your most beautiful self. Keep in mind that if you have not participated in physical activity for a while that it is always a good idea to get in touch with your medical care provider and seek out their advice and guidance about the best place to start. Challenge yourself to the point that you get a small spike in your heart rate. Do not challenge yourself to the point that you can’t breathe or begin to experience pain.
It is especially important to make the time to take care of your skin right before and after a good exercise session. Here are few pre and post work out skin care suggestions:
- Always begin with clean skin. This means you might need to take a few minutes to remove any makeup or other products that might be on your skin. It is very likely that you will sweat when you exercise. When sweat combines with facial products, you are setting up the scene for clogged pores, irritation and breakouts.
- The only product that should be on your skin while you are exercising is sunscreen if you are going to be outdoors. Pick one that is at least 30 SPF and look for formulas that are designed to be exercise compatible and that won’t clog pores.
- Stay hydrated. If there is one thing that can affect the way your skin looks and feels almost immediately, it is water. Make sure you are properly hydrated before you begin exercising, keep water with you and adequately replenish yourself when you are finished.
- If you are prone to breakouts, consider keeping gentle, antibacterial facial wipes near you to wipe sweat away as it accumulates on your face. Additionally, your hands can be breeding grounds for bacteria, especially when touching shared gym equipment. Keeping your hands off of your face is always a good habit to get into – especially at the gym.
- Resist the urge to jump into a hot shower. The heat can strip away important oils from your skin. Choose lukewarm water and choose a gentle and natural cleanser.