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How Exercise Keeps Your Skin Healthy

Natalie
Stein
May 9, 2022
Exercise and skincare
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In this article:

  • Exercise can help promote healthy skin. Physical activity increases blood flow and normalizes hormones.
  • Other ways to promote skin health are to eat a nutritious diet, avoid tobacco, manage stress, and use sunscreen.
  • Lark can help you establish healthy habits that support weight loss and improved health.

What do you know about skin health? Do you follow a skin care regimen with special products for your face, hands, and body? Do you choose serums, creams, and exfoliators with care?

There's something else you can do for your skin. It doesn't cost extra money or extra time compared to your usual healthy lifestyle. Exercise! On top of keeping you healthy in other ways, physical activity can make skin look and feel healthier.

How Exercise Can Affect Skin

Exercise increases blood flow. You can feel this when your heart beats faster and you breathe more deeply. An effect of increased circulation is that more oxygen and nutrients get to the cells in your body, including skin cells. This allows an increase in metabolism, including in cell repair.

Another possible benefit of exercise is that it helps normalize stress hormones. That's helpful for skin because too much chronic stress often leads to breakouts and even allergic skin reactions. An intense workout may raise levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. But, cortisol levels soon fall and are overall lower with regular physical activity.

More Ways to Support Skin Health

Mayo Clinic offers more ideas for supporting skin health with everyday lifestyle choices. For example, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and stay out of the direct sunlight when you can.

Here are some ways to support skin health that Lark can help with!

  • Eating a nutritious diet. Focus on vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and lean proteins, especially fish and plant-based proteins.
  • Drinking lots of water.
  • Managing stress. Along with exercising, other stress management techniques include deep breathing exercises, visualization, and journaling.
  • Avoiding tobacco. Smoking reduces blood flow, which has the opposite effect as physical activity does. Smoking also breaks down collagen, which is the compound in your skin that keeps it tight and firm.

And that skincare regimen? Don't throw it out the window completely, but you can keep it simple. 

  • Use a clean towel.
  • Use a mild cleanser. 
  • Use warm, not hot, water in the bath or shower, and keep it short.
  • Gently pat your skin dry instead of scrubbing hard.

More Benefits of Exercise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says "exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health." Regular physical activity can do the following.

  • Lower risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Help lower blood pressure or manage hypertension.
  • Help lower blood sugar and prevent or manage diabetes.
  • Help maintain bone, joint, and muscle health.
  • Help maintain a healthier weight.
  • Lower the risk for certain cancers.
  • Support brain health.

Most adults should aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous-intensity activity.

Getting Started with Your Exercise Program

If you're not already exercising, it's best to get your healthcare provider's approval before starting a program. Make sure you know which exercises are safe for you and if you have any limitations. 

These are some tips for getting started.

  • Find an activity that you enjoy. It may take several tries and a lot of creativity. Brisk walking is a good start for many people.
  • Start with a comfortable amount. That may be just a few minutes at a time. Only increase the duration when you feel comfortable.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. 
  • Plan times during the week when you will exercise and schedule them on your calendar.

Use Lark to log your activity to stay motivated and accountable! Lark can also provide more personalized coaching when you log your workouts.

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