Why do we exercise?
For most of us, it’s because we want to feel good, and we want to look good. What’s not so obvious, though, is that exercise is as important to the condition of our skin as it is to the condition of our bodies. When comparing the skin of athletes to that of non-exercisers, researchers found the athletes’ skin to be denser, thicker, more elastic, and stronger.
Increased blood flow
When you exercise, your cardiovascular system rushes freshly oxygenated blood to the surface to feed your muscles. The same high oxygen content also plumps up your skin making it larger and thicker. The increased blood flow to the skin delivers nutrients, and carries away toxins.
Increased body temperature
In addition, the internally-generated heat during exercise helps boost collagen production, which in turn improves your skin’s elasticity, and wards off lines and wrinkles. Meanwhile, sweat that tends to accompany exercise aids in the removal of cellular waste, leading to a clearer complexion.
Increased cell turnover
Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, is a key factor in healthy skin cell turnover. Good cell turnover replaces old cells with healthy new ones, resulting in a clearer, smoother, more even-toned skin
Increased blood capillary density
Exercise also increases blood capillary density in the skin, thereby improving the nutrition of the skin.
Increased sebum production
Another important advantage of regular exercise is the extra production of sebum. Sebum is a natural oil produced on the skin by the sebaceous glands, which works as a natural emollient maintaining skin’s softness and protecting against creasing and wrinkles.. The proper amount of sebum is essential to maintain healthy skin.
Increased growth hormone production
Vigorous exercise is a natural way to boost your pituitary’s output of HGH (Human Growth Hormone). Increased levels of HGH have been seen to increase the strength and collagen content of the skin, and are linked to noticeable improvement in skin texture, skin thickness, and skin elasticity, as well as decreased wrinkles.
Oxygen is needed for the survival of your cells; if your skin does not receive enough oxygen, it will appear dull and aged, and be vulnerable to attack by ‘free radicals’.
The skin’s oxygen supply is derived both internally and externally. Internally, blood carries oxygen that is released from blood’s hemoglobin. Regular exercise enhances the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body.
Externally, oxygen is absorbed through cellular respiration (yes, your skin ‘breathes’). Getting outside for a walk, ideally somewhere away from car exhaust, allows your skin to breathe in some fresh air.
Continue reading Step 3: You Are What You Eat