When most folks think of exercise, it’s in terms of health benefits such as weight loss, toning the muscles, and supporting healthy heart function.
As great as those benefits are, regular exercise also has a few surprising beauty benefits.
Find out about that gorgeous workout glow and more below.
1. Exercise Brightens Your Complexion
The workout glow is real—and there’s more to it than sweat. Dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., explained that the vibrant post-exercise glow is a result of increased circulation, which means more nutrients and water are delivered to your skin (and other organs).
In addition to bringing oxygen and nutrients to your skin, the increased blood flow also carries away toxins and waste products from your skin, which helps make you less vulnerable to breakouts, flare-ups, and free-radical damage. Get your heart pumping and your blood flowing with cardio exercises such as aerobics and running.
2. Exercise Helps Prevent Wrinkles
Sugar and refined carbs do more than pile on the pounds. According to Gohara, they increase your chances of developing saggy skin, fine lines, and deeper wrinkles. This happens because sugar damages elastin and collagen, both of which help keep your skin looking firm and healthy. Regular exercise helps regulate your blood sugar levels and fights the effects of refined carbs.
Austin-based dermatologist Dr. Amy McClung said that, even though exercise can help keep wrinkles at bay, it’s important to protect your skin from sun damage if you exercise outdoors. Los Angeles-based exercise physiologist Amy Dixon said exercise helps maintain a healthy cortisol level. This helps support collagen production, as too much of the stress hormone in your body can cause collagen to degenerate.
3. Exercise Cleanses Your Pores
Sweating is a normal part of exercise. Not only does sweating help your body cool down, but it also cleanses your pores and helps to release toxins from your skin. According to Gohara, it helps reduce the bacteria that causes pimples. The trick to seeing the benefits of sweating in your skin is to remove any makeup before you start exercising, as leaving it on will clog your pores. What’s more, if you rub your face with your hand or a towel, you could push particles of makeup deeper into your pores.
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Mauro C. Romita said that exercising can also help correct the hormonal imbalance connected to acne in adults.
Baltimore-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Noëlle S. Sherber offered additional advice for enjoying the skin-cleansing benefits of working up a good sweat. If you’re prone to acne, cleanse your face and other areas where you experience outbreaks with fragrance-free gentle cleansing wipes as soon as you’ve finished your session. If you have eczema, wear fabrics that absorb your sweat. If you don’t, the constant cycle of wet-dry-wet-dry can ultimately dry out your skin and cause an eczema flare-up.
4. Exercise Promotes Healthy Hair
Exercising regularly can help keep your hair strong and healthy. According to exercise physiologist Amy Dixon, the hair health benefits of exercise are thanks to improved blood flow. The nutrient-rich oxygenated blood stimulates your follicles, which in turn promotes healthy hair growth—and that’s not all.
The stress-relieving, circulation-improving power of exercise means there’s less chance of your hair becoming brittle or falling out. All types of exercise will get your heart pumping and blood flowing. But try not to fall into the same old same-old routine. Follow Dixon’s advice and mix up your workout sessions frequently.
5. Exercise Reduces Stress
Your hair isn’t the only part of your body that stress can affect. Stress can also lead to a feeling of general discomfort, as well as facial tension. The result is skin that looks less radiant. Plus, when you’re feeling stressed, you’re less likely to take self-care as seriously as you should, which can lead to increased breakouts.
U.S Dermatology Partners explained that stress can act as a trigger for chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea, as well as inflammation and allergic skin reactions. Exercise supports healthy immune system function, which means your body can respond better to skin and other concerns.
According to the Mayo Clinic, part of exercise’s ability to relieve stress is the release of endorphins it promotes. Known as feel-good hormones, endorphins can make you feel relaxed and happier.
6. Exercise Promotes Healthy Sleep
Restful sleep supports hair and skin health, and exercise can help you achieve that. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and like the rest of your body, it repairs itself while you sleep deeply. If you don’t get enough sleep, or if your sleep is shallow and disrupted, your skin doesn’t have enough time for essential maintenance work, which can lead to it looking dull and tired. This can also make your skin more prone to inflammation.
Regular exercise tires your body, decreases stress, and helps to regulate healthy blood sugar levels. All these factors promote healthy sleep patterns, which makes it easier for you to enjoy restful, restorative beauty sleep. The trick with using exercise to promote healthy sleep is not to exercise too close to your bedtime. This can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep, even if you have the darkest room, most comfortable mattress, and the perfect ambient temperature.
7. Exercise Burns Visceral Fat
Regular exercise helps your body burn visceral fat, which ultimately can support healthy skin. You can’t see visceral fat. Rather than being stored under your skin like subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is stored around various organs in your abdominal cavity. While some visceral fat is necessary, too much of it can play a role in systemic inflammation and insulin resistance, both of which can affect the health of your skin.
You won’t see the results of exercise helping your body to burn visceral fat the way you would when your body burns subcutaneous fat. Instead, it manifests as healthy-looking skin and lower susceptibility to health issues such as diabetes. If you’re interested in this beauty benefit of exercise, choose low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking rather than high-intensity workouts.
Exercise For Health And Beauty
Exercise has amazing benefits for your health and beauty. Let them inspire you to be the best version of yourself.