You don’t need a doctor to tell you how good exercise is for your body, mind and mental health. We all know that getting our bodies moving regularly sends endorphins soaring through our body, making us feel happy and positive post workout. However, what many of us don’t know is that regular exercise is the perfect way to keep a more youthful, fresh-faced appearance. From Pilates and Yoga, to HiiT training and cycling, a mix of physical activities protect us from cell damaging free-radicals, boost the production of collagen, and even protect our skin from the visible effects of stress. To give us the lowdown on the best exercise for your skin type, award-winning aesthetic doctor, Dr Rekha Tailor of health + aesthetics clinic in Farnham, talks us through the ten best exercises for your skin, and how they can help you to achieve a flawless, and youthful complexion
Zumba – Zumba is a high intensity, South American dance workout loved by millions of fun-loving Brits every week. When enjoying high intensity aerobic activities like Zumba, there is an increase in the blood flow to the skin cells, which in turn carries oxygen and nutrients. This nourishes your skin cells and keeps them healthy, giving you a fresh faced complexion on the outside. The increased blood flow also helps to carry away waste products, including free radicals, which can start a negative chain reaction of damaging healthy cells.
Yoga – Research has found that stress can increase the effects of rosacea, acne and eczema, due to the stress hormone cortisol telling the cells to produce more oil. Partaking in regular yoga classes can help eradicate this process, as the yoga philosophy teaches pupils to align the body with the mind through fluid movement and controlled breathing. This tranquil state of mind ensures that less cortisol is produced in the body, leading to reduced oil levels which lessens the possibility of skin irritation, redness and breakouts. I always recommend yoga to my patients looking for a natural anti-ageing boost, as popular yoga postures, such as the Downward Dog, send blood to the face, which can help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Running – Building up a sweat whilst you are out for a run is similar to getting a mini facial. As we begin to sweat and our core body temperature rises, our pores start to. As sweat is expelled from the body, it flushes out trapped dirt and oil with it. Research has also shown that sweating can help to flush out chemicals such as Phthalates, which aren’t as easily passed through the body. This helps the skin to get rid of any damaging dirt and toxins, and leaves it clean and clear. (Just remember to wash your face afterwards.)
Swimming – Chlorine is known for having a drying effect on the skin due to its high chemical levels. However, I recommend that my patients with problematic skin swim regularly as the antibacterial properties in Chlorine can help to attack blemish-causing bacteria. The drying effect that is often negatively presented can actually benefit those with acne as it helps to soak up oil and sebum, two of the greatest culprits for causing breakouts and skin irritations.
Weight Training – It’s common knowledge that as we age, our skin begins to lose elasticity which leads to looser skin, fine lines and wrinkles. Incorporating regular weight and strength training into your exercise regime tones the muscles that lie underneath the skin’s surface, resulting in a tauter appearance on the outside.
Resistance Training – Using your own bodyweight to challenge yourself can help to plump the skin and provide significant anti-ageing results. As we age, our skin starts to thin which increases the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Resistance training helps to stimulate the production of collagen within the body, which makes the skin, appear thicker and more supple; this form of training also helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
HiiT Training – Alternating between high intensity cardio and toning exercises can have a rejuvenating effect on skin’s appearance. Similar to Zumba and other aerobic based classes, HiiT training increases blood flow throughout the whole body, which aids the removal of damaging chemicals away from the skin’s cells. High intensity training also sends oxygen levels soaring throughout the body, leaving you with a fresh complexion. By combining this with toning exercises, fitness fanatics will see a reduction in sagging, and a boost in the production of collagen.
Pilates – This is the ideal exercise for rosacea sufferers as it’s designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness, with relatively low intensity levels. Whilst high intensity training can often increase the effects of rosacea by triggering flushing, facial redness and itchy skin, Pilates doesn’t appear to have such a negative effect on the skin due to its calming practices. Amongst its many benefits, Pilates does not increase the heart rate which can trigger rosacea symptoms and therefore helps to keep skin clear and prevent soreness.
Aerobics – This high intensity cardio workout helps to stimulate collagen production to the skin, as well as increase the amount of the human growth hormone which is released in the body, vital for maintaining a youthful appearance and healthy body and metabolism. These both work together in synergy to support the skin and help it to produce collagen and elastin and stimulate the production of new skin cells, resulting in a brighter and more youthful appearance.
Cycling – Cycling encourages blood flow around the body and helps to get rid of toxins, resulting in clearer skin. Taking to your bike is also a great exercise to protect the skin from pollution. Air pollutants rob the skin of oxygen resulting in a dull and tired complexion and damage to the skin.
Written by Dr Rekha Tailor, Aesthetic Doctor of health + aesthetics clinic, Farnham.
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