Can Exercising Promote Skin Health & Anti-Aging?
The benefits of exercise extend far beyond physical fitness. Regular physical activity has emerged as a powerful ally in the fight against not only against aging, but skin aging as well.
Exercise’s positive impact on skin health is attributed to its ability to:
- Improve circulation: Exercise increases blood flow, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, promoting their growth and repair.
- Stimulate collagen production: Collagen is the protein that gives skin its structure and elasticity. Exercise stimulates collagen production, helping to keep skin firm and supple.
- Reduce inflammation: Chronic inflammation contributes to skin aging. Exercise has anti-inflammatory effects that can help protect skin from damage.
So, in this post, you will learn how exercising will help you stay more youthful looking and feeling, as well as what exercises to include in your routine.
Can Facial Yoga & Exercises Actually Help Skin Elasticity?
Yes. Facial yoga and exercises have gained popularity as a natural method to improve skin elasticity and overall facial appearance. The concept is based on the idea that, just as physical exercises can tone and firm the body’s muscles, facial exercises can do the same for the muscles in the face.
These exercises usually include different facial movements, stretches, and massages that specifically target muscle groups in the face. Regularly practicing facial yoga can help strengthen facial muscles, potentially resulting in a more lifted and firm appearance.
Enhanced blood flow and oxygen to the skin are believed to provide benefits by promoting collagen production. Collagen, an essential protein for skin firmness and elasticity, decreases as we age, causing sagging skin and wrinkles. Facial exercises can potentially counteract this process by stimulating collagen synthesis.
Furthermore, participating in these activities can also result in smoother skin and a decrease in the visibility of wrinkles. Certain experts propose that incorporating facial exercises into your routine can bring about noticeable enhancements in skin complexion and even alleviate facial tension that can contribute to the formation of expression lines.
It’s important to understand that facial yoga has its limitations and isn’t a cure-all solution. Results can differ for each individual, and being consistent is crucial. It is suggested to include these exercises in your regular skincare routine and perform them regularly to see positive outcomes.
Check out this video from Danielle Collins, Face Yoga Expert.
Do Cardio and Strength Training Impact Your Skin?
Yes. Cardiovascular exercise and strength training can contribute to healthier, more youthful-looking skin in several ways, which may be perceived as anti-aging effects:
1. Increased Blood Flow: Cardio increases blood flow to the skin, delivering oxygen and nutrients that improve skin health and promote the repair of damage from the sun and environmental pollutants.
2. Sweat Production: Sweating can help clear out the pores, potentially reducing acne and giving the skin a clearer, more vibrant appearance.
3. Stress Reduction: Regular cardio exercise can reduce stress, which in turn can decrease the occurrence of stress-related skin problems such as acne and eczema.
4. Improved Sleep: Cardio can improve sleep quality, which is essential for skin repair and regeneration.
5. Regulation of Hormones: Exercise helps regulate hormones that could otherwise contribute to acne or other skin issues.
1. Improved Muscle Tone: Strength training improves muscle tone beneath the skin, which can make the skin look firmer and more youthful.
2. Support of Skin Structure: Building muscle can help support the skin’s structure, potentially reducing the sagging that comes with age.
3. Enhanced Skin Thickness: There is some evidence that regular physical activity may increase the thickness of the dermis layer of the skin, reducing the appearance of aging.
4. Reduced Body Fat: Lower body fat from strength training can result in less cellulite, which can make the skin appear smoother and more toned.
5. Growth Hormone Release: Strength training stimulates the release of growth hormone, which may help in maintaining or increasing skin thickness and elasticity.
When combined, cardio and strength training offer a comprehensive approach to maintaining overall health, which is often reflected in the appearance of the skin.
It’s important to note that while these exercises can contribute to healthier skin, they are not a panacea for aging and should be part of a broader lifestyle approach to maintain skin health, which I will get to momentarily.
Is There any Science to Prove it Helps?
Yes. Yes, there is scientific evidence suggesting that exercise can have anti-aging effects on both a cellular and systemic level. Here’s a brief overview of the science:
1. Cellular Health: Exercise has been shown to positively affect cellular health by improving mitochondrial function, which is essential for energy production and decreases with age. It also helps maintain telomere length, which are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten as we age .
2. Genomic Stability: Physical activity can enhance genomic stability by reducing DNA damage, which is a key factor in the aging process. Exercise stimulates repair mechanisms that maintain DNA integrity .
3. Proteostasis: Exercise helps in maintaining protein homeostasis (proteostasis), which tends to become dysregulated with aging. This includes improved regulation of the creation and folding of proteins, as well as better clearance of damaged proteins .
4. Inflammation: Chronic inflammation is associated with aging and various age-related diseases. Regular exercise has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially combating this aspect of aging .
5. Hormesis: Exercise acts as a mild stressor that promotes hormesis, a process that can lead to increased resistance to stress and disease by activating cellular stress-response pathways. This is thought to contribute to the longevity benefits of regular physical activity .
6. Systemic Effects: Beyond cellular effects, exercise improves muscle mass and strength, bone density, cardiovascular health, and metabolic function, all of which tend to decline with age. By maintaining these aspects of health, exercise can help preserve youthfulness and delay the onset of age-related diseases .
7. Cognitive Function: Physical activity has been linked to better brain health and a lower risk of cognitive decline. It supports neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to form new neural connections throughout life .
For personalized advice and specific exercise recommendations, it’s best to consult with healthcare or fitness professionals who can tailor a program to an individual’s needs and health status.
Types of Exercises to Consider
While there isn’t a definitive ranking of exercises specifically for their anti-aging effects on the skin, certain types of exercise may provide benefits that can contribute to a more youthful appearance, according to some research and expert opinions.
1. Aerobic Exercises: Regular aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling are known to improve circulation, which helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the skin, potentially giving it a more radiant and youthful glow .
2. Resistance Training: Strength training exercises can help maintain muscle mass and improve overall body composition. This can indirectly affect the skin by providing a firm base for the skin to lay on, which might reduce sagging and improve elasticity.
3. Yoga and Pilates: These exercises emphasize flexibility, posture, and core strength. They can improve circulation and may help with stress reduction. Stress has been shown to accelerate the aging process, so managing stress through these practices could have an indirect anti-aging effect on the skin.
4. Facial Exercises: Like the face yoga you’ve already learned about.
5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): This type of exercise involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest or lower-intensity exercise. HIIT has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce body fat, and improve human growth hormone levels, all of which could potentially have an anti-aging effect on the skin.
The CDC, Department of Health & Human Services, and American Heart Association all agree you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
And for muscle-strengthening activities, these should be on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
Don’t Just Rely on Exercising
While exercising will be a great benefit for your skin and your whole body, it’s just part of the holistic approach to take.
A complete anti-aging routine should include:
Sun Protection (SPF)
Daily Use: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, even on cloudy days or when indoors, as UVA rays can penetrate windows.
Reapplication: Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.
Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Consume foods high in antioxidants, like berries, nuts, and green leafy vegetables, to fight oxidative stress.
Healthy Fats: Include omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed, and walnuts for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain hydration and support skin elasticity.
Limit Sugar and Processed Foods: Reducing intake can help prevent inflammation and glycation, which can lead to premature aging.
Water Intake: Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out.
Avoid Dehydrating Drinks: Limit alcohol and caffeine as they can dehydrate the skin.
Humidifier: Consider using a humidifier in dry climates or during winter to maintain skin moisture.
Don’t Smoke: As I am sure you know, smoking ages you even faster.
Manage Stress: Although exercising helps, taking time to meditate will lower your stress levels, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day.
Have anything you want to add? Let me know in the comments!