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Studies Show That Regular Exercise Can Help Your Skin Look Younger

Few would argue against the benefits of exercise. Exercise helps us maintain a healthy weight and boosts our energy. It’s good for our heart, lungs, brain, posture, muscle tone, and bone strength. Individuals who exercise tend to sleep better, feel better about themselves, experience less anxiety and less depression, and even have a healthier sex drive.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to start exercising regularly, consider this: a study by Dr. Mark Tarnoplosky at McMaster University (which just so happens to be where I went to medical school) suggests that exercise is not only beneficial for the skin but could possibly reverse the aging process in skin cells as well. If any of you had ‘exercise more’’ on your New Year’s Resolution List, here is yet another great reason why you should start ASAP!

The study observed the skin of subjects aged 20-84 years old, who exercised on a stationary bike three times a week in 30-minute increments over the course of three months. Observations were conducted at the microscopic level and were compared to the skin of sedentary subjects. The preliminary observations were twofold:

Preventative Effects of Excercise

The first observation from this study was that exercise prevented the outer part of the skin (dermis) from thinning and the inner part of the skin (stratum corneum) from thickening. These two changes are normally observed within aging skin. By the end of the study, the active participants had a more youthful skin composition compared to the inactive group of the same age, regardless of their age group.

Rejuvenating Effects of Exercise

This study also revealed that, even if someone started an aerobic exercise regimen later in life, 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, was sufficient to make the skin look 20 to 30 years younger under the microscope. Better still, results were apparent after as little as 3 months. This remained true even if the exercise routine was initiated after the age of 65. So, it is never too late to start!

What might account for the preventative and rejuvenating benefits of exercise on the skin? I cannot say for sure. It is most likely the result of many factors. One possible hypothesis is that, as with every other organ in our body, exercise promotes healthier circulation. This probably leads to increased blood flow and improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin cells. Healthier circulation would also be more efficient at carrying waste products and free radicals away from the skin cells.

The message here is that exercise, even in moderation, results in healthier, younger-looking skin and can actually reverse the signs of aging by decades. That’s in addition to the wealth of other benefits, too.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for your next yoga or kickboxing class, put on those running shoes, or head up to the gym. Whatever your preference is, if you exercise, you will keep your skin glowing and looking its best. Got to run!

By Dr. Caroline Tosoni, MD

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