Okay, so we all know that there are many benefits to regular exercise – cardiovascular health, weight management, bone health, and even stress relief. But, did you know that exercise actually helps your skin to age more slowly?

Recent research done at McMaster University in Ontario confirmed that exercise is good for our skin too — especially as we age. Researchers found that after age 40, men and woman who exercised frequently had thinner and a healthier stratum corneum and dermal layer in the skin (closer in composition to 20 and 30 year olds), even at age 65!  Although the scientists acknowledged that regular exercisers are more likely to have a healthier diet and be non-smokers, which plays a role in having younger skin, they feel that the increased blood flow from exercise is a major contributor to the youthful skin.

By increasing blood flow, exercise helps nourish skin cells.

Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to working cells throughout the body and skin, as well as provides oxygen to tissues.  Having good circulation ensures that cellular debris and free radicals are carried away to the liver for excretion.  In addition, exercise has also been shown to ease stress, which can limit production of the stress hormone cortisol, a known collagen zapper.

What’s stopping you from getting the exercise you need to keep your skin glowing?

It can be hard to find time for a full gym workout every day, but that is not necessary.  You can benefit from a daily 30-minute brisk walk.  I’m a huge fan of my Fitbit, which reminds me to get up and move on a regular basis.  When I wear my Fitbit, I am more likely to park farther away than needed, use the stairs rather than the elevator, and schedule walking time on my calendar every day — even if it’s just a 15-minute walk during my lunch hour.  I rarely go to bed at night before I hit my 10,000 step-per-day goal, with 30 minutes of higher intensity during the day. It is not unusual to see me briskly walking around my home before bedtime so that I have the satisfaction of feeling that happy “buzz” on my wrist indicating that my goal has been met. It’s a great feeling to know that you have taken the time to do something good for yourself every day. Whether you choose to wear a Fitbit or a basic pedometer, use a phone app, or just a good old fashioned clock, try to get your 30 minutes of activity in every day and notice how great your skin looks!

Click here to read Ginger Hodulik Downey’s book The Esthetician’s Guide to Outstanding Esthetics.

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