Our skin is our body’s largest organ; unfortunately, it’s also the easiest to take for granted. Most people don’t realize this, but our skin measures about 2 square meters and weighs in at approximately 4.5-5 kilograms in the average adult. It is responsible for several important functions within the body including physical protection, Vitamin D synthesis, it serves as a major blood reservoir containing 8-10% of the total blood flow in a resting adult, it regulates body temperature and is responsible for the excretion of toxins and impurities. Actually, our skin’s health is one of the best gauges of what’s going on internally and a beautiful glow is almost entirely dependent on two things- diet and exercise.
Exercise increases blood flow and promotes the distribution of oxygen and nutrients throughout, bringing life to the skin cells. Exercise also ensures that environmental toxins have the ability to be flushed out of your skin, and also decreases the risk of inflammation and issues with the skin. With only a few minutes of exercise, “the blood starts pumping and carries away waste products/free radicals and cellular debris are flushed out of the system,” says dermatologist Ellen Marmu, MD. Exercise is like “cleansing your skin from the inside.”
Keep reading for the complete Healthy Skin Workout.
1) Cleanse: Ladies, skip the make-up, you don’t need it. Use only mild products and warm water to remove dirt and makeup before and after you exercise. Stay away from harsh chemicals, perfumed soaps, and heavily fragranced cleansers which can only cause problems. Wear moisture-wicking clothing which keep sweat and bacteria way from your skin, and always shower immediately after exercising. Stay away from super -hot water when bathing as this depletes the skin of its natural oils.
2) Hydrate: Drink PLENTY of water. If necessary, make sure your post workout, post cleanse moisturizing product has a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 and apply this while the skin still damp.
3) Protect: You think you’re doing your body ‘good’ by taking your workout outside, but ANY sun exposure will contribute to wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems, as well as increase the risk of skin cancer. Always use sunscreen, even in the winter and try to cover up as much as possible.
4) Sleep: Getting enough sleep will benefit both your workout and will keep the skin healthy and looking its best.
5) De-stress: A stressful lifestyle is hard on the entire body. Regular exercise will lower cortisol levels and encourage normal levels of sebum production (high levels of sebum productions can lead to acne and other skin issues). Yoga, for example works double time because this stress-relieving practice not only lowers stress hormone levels but also helps to smooth lines in the face. Take time to exercise, but also set aside time to de-stress, your entire body will thank you for it.
6) Eat Right: Keep caffeine and sugar out of your diet as much as possible and avoid greasy, fatty, salty foods all together. Limit processed or refined carbohydrates to promote younger looking skin. Try to eat foods rich in oleic acid (olive oil and avocados) and consider incorporating fish oils and a multi-vitamin into your balanced diet.
7) Quit Smoking: Smoking impacts the physical body on all levels besides causing wrinkles and accelerating the aging of skin. Social smokers and even those exposed to minimal amounts of second-hand smoke, this advice is directed at you as well. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow and depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin, the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity.
So, to keep your body and your skin looking and feeling young, stick to the advice above. Take small, manageable steps and place a high priority on a clean diet and regular exercise. You will see results immediately.