We all know that exercise is an amazing tool for keeping our bodies, hearts, lungs, and minds healthy. But did you know that working out also has amazing beauty benefits? According to at least one study, exercise can help slow down or even reduce signs of aging, including the graying of hair. Read on to find out just how that SoulCycle class, intense yoga session, or long run can help keep your skin and hair looking and feeling healthy.
1. Sweating Is Actually Great For Your Skin
Getting a good sweat in is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Contrary to popular belief, sweating doesn’t “detox” your skin (you can thank your liver and kidneys for that), but instead cleanses out the debris, dirt, and bacteria from your pores. Little known fact, sweat contains dermcidin, a molecule that is secreted by our sweat glands that actually attacks bacteria. So, by sweating you’re really helping your skin out!
But the most important thing to remember is to make sure to wash your face and body as soon as possible to get rid of all that excess dirt and bacteria that’s flushed itself out. Carry a pack of cleansing wipes or a gentle cleanser in your gym bag to use after your next workout sesh to avoid clogging your pores and causing breakouts.
2. Increased Blood Flow = Gorgeous Glow
Deep underneath our skin lies a web of teeny, tiny capillaries. It’s through these capillaries that our skin gets its nourishment, and when we exercise, our blood gets pumped full of vitamins and oxygen, which equals—you guessed it—that quintessential rosy glow that we get after we finish an intense cardio or strength workout. As the resident dermatologist for Dove, Mona Gohara, M.D., told Women’s Health, “Exercise increases circulation, which brings vibrancy to the skin.” Also, the more we continue to nourish our blood cells by exercising, the more our skin cells are pumped full of nutrients and water so your skin is also firm, bouncy, and elastic. It’s a win-win all around!
3. Helps You Get a Good Night’s Rest
Exercise is one of the most popular ways to get a good night’s sleep. And all of that good sleep directly translates into better skin. Why? Well, according to studies, not getting enough sleep really changes your appearance in more ways than one—think drooping, swollen eyelids, darker undereye circles, and more fine lines and wrinkles. When we don’t sleep, it increases stress hormones, which in turn, can cause inflammation, especially for people with eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
When you get a good, restful night of sleep, instead of those stress hormones, our body repairs any inflammation and also increases collagen and hyaluronic acid production, two essential molecules that contribute to bouncy, glowy skin.
4. Long Hair, Don’t Care
Exercise doesn’t just help our skin! All of that increased blood flow and healthy oxygenated blood also flows to our scalps. As a result, your hair follicles get a boost from all of the nutrients, water, and vitamins—and voilà, your hair is thicker, stronger, and longer.
And as an added bonus, thanks to the stress reduction benefits that exercise gives us, your hair is less likely to fall out. Amy Dixon, an L.A.-based exercise physiologist and celebrity personal trainer, told Everydayhealth.com: “Exercise is also a big stress reliever. Lower stress means your hair is less likely to be brittle and, worse, fall out.”
5. Say Bye-bye to Stress
One of the best beauty benefits of working out regularly is stress reduction. Simply put, stress wreaks havoc on our skin—think of the times you’ve had a stressful week at work, and all of a sudden you see a new crop of acne, an eczema flare-up, or your skin just looks tired and dull. Getting in a good sweat during your favorite kickboxing or bootcamp class decreases inflammation and increases all of those happy endorphins, so you’re glowing from the inside out.