Exercising makes you feel and look great – you feel more confident, your steps are springier, your eyes shine, you feel sexier, you do better at work. But that’s not all! Exercising also improves your skin. A lot! I’ve always known it to be true because I experienced it myself, but I didn’t know the theory behind it.
Well, I did a little research for you. If you are looking for ways to achieve acne free and radiant skin, here’s my list of reasons why you should become a fan of exercising (if you aren’t one already). It’s also perfect if you are in need of a little motivation to exercise on this gloomy autumn day.
Every cell in the human body benefits from physical activity. Within an hour of exercising, you feel less anxious, that night you sleep better, and for 72 hours afterwards your body processes blood sugar more efficiently.”, says Tim Church, MD, PhD, the director of preventative medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA (experiencelife.com).
So let’s jump right in…
Exercising fights acne by increasing blood flow to the skin
Blood flow is what delivers oxygen and nutrients to all the vital organs and skin cells. If there is more blood flow, the delivery will be more efficient. This will repair the damage from environmental pollutants and will improve collagen production. Do you know what that means? You’ll have fewer wrinkles! Normally, when we age, collagen production gets reduced with each year but exercising is a way to keep it up.
An increased blood flow will also have a positive effect on your immune system by producing more white blood cells – you know, the ones that detect and destroy bad bacteria, viruses, etc. Which means that there will be less bacteria and viruses getting through the gates into your body – as a result, there will be less inflammation. Spots and little wounds will heal faster, and scars will fade more quickly.
Blood flow isn’t only responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients, it also helps flush out toxins and free-radicals from your body.
“By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system. You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.”, says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy Gorgeous Skin (WebMD.com)
Exercising fights acne by improving lymph drainage
We have around 500 lymph nodes in the body. But lymph moves very slowly because, unlike blood, it doesn’t have a heart to pump it around. It depends 100% on nearby muscles to move it. Static lymph means that waste from the body isn’t being removed properly, and that’s where all kinds of ailments start to manifest. How to keep the lymph moving? Of course by exercising!
When you do pushups, for example, your muscles contract and that contraction squeezes the lymph out of the lymph nodes and sends it on its way out.
Strong muscles = good lymph circulation = less waste in the body = healthier skin and body.
Exercising fights acne by reducing stress
Cortisol is called the “stress hormone” – it’s generally found at elevated levels when a person is stressed, starving or lacking sleep. When you are stressed, cortisol sends a signal to the sebaceous glands to start producing more oil, which in turn leads to more acne.
These days it seems like almost everyone is suffering from anxiety, fear, uncertainty, etc. It might be a part of the modern way of life as almost 20% of all adults suffer from anxiety disorders according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And these are just official figures. I’m sure most of us at some point in our lives have had feelings of anxiety, fear or uncertainty.
Now imagine, if you could take a pill that would make you feel peaceful but would also make you healthier and more beautiful, wouldn’t that be perfect? Well, that’s where exercising comes into play again. The calming effects of even a short session of exercising will last for hours.
Exercising fights acne by helping you sleep better
Our bodies have a natural cortisol rhythm during the day – it’s high in the morning and low in the evening. This is what allows us to wind down and have a restful sleep during the night.
Now imagine this situation – you are chronically stressed at work, cortisol gets triggered all the time and your body loses sensitivity to it because it’s always around at elevated levels. This can upset the natural rhythm, and you might find yourself feeling groggy and tired in the morning but super restless when you go to the bed in the evening. Have you been there? I definitely have.
Exercising naturally increases your body’s sensitivity to cortisol and acts as a sort of natural vent. You see, cortisol is created for dangerous situations when humans had to escape from a bear, for example. These days, we are stuck in offices and there is nowhere to run. So cortisol keeps collecting until it starts overflowing. That’s why exercising is so important. It gets rid of the accumulated cortisol and sends the body a signal that a stressful situation has passed and it can now relax.
If you sleep better at night, your skin will have more chances of repairing itself and you will wake up looking more radiant and healthier.
Exercising fights acne by making you love yourself more
Acne seriously ruins self-confidence, so exercising is a great way to fall in love with yourself again. If you are more self-confident, you’ll be less stressed, and less stress = healthier skin.
Exercising doesn’t only tone your muscles and make you look better but also improves your overall outlook on life, and this is the most important thing – your self-confidence starts improving almost immediately, way before you start seeing changes in your body, such as more muscle definition, slimmer figure, etc.
Every time I exercise I feel undefeatable, as if I could move mountains in order to achieve whatever I want. This sense of power and strength is what makes us feel happy – it doesn’t take long to start showing in the skin.
Exercising fights acne by releasing endorphins
Endorphins are the “happiness hormones”. The high you get after a good workout session is like nothing else. And of course more happiness = less stress = less acne.
Exercising fights acne by regulating hormones
I’ve already talked about the importance of exercising for reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But exercising affects all other hormones too, such as the growth hormones and sex hormones. A big chunk of all acne in adults is due to hormonal imbalances, so exercising is a great way to address the issue.
However, be careful not to overdo exercising – prolonged and high-intensity exercising will stress your body, which will increase cortisol and testosterone (male sex hormone) levels. Both of those will increase sebum production, and may worsen your acne. Remember, exercising has to be fun, not stress!
Exercising is like a mini-facial for your skin
When you sweat, pores get dilated, which helps get rid of trapped sebum, dead cells and dirt. Wash your skin as soon as you finish ecercising, and voila! Your skin will look much brighter and clearer.
My personal tip: use the Oil Cleansing Method as soon as you finish exercising, while you are still hot and sweaty. You’ll be surprised at what comes out of your pores. In a couple of minutes you’ll get out so much gunk – normally, it would take at least 30 minutes of massaging to get such results. Seriously, try it and you’ll see for yourself.
What’s the best way to introduce exercising for an acne free life?
The good news is that you don’t need to go to the gym every day and spend hours exercising. In fact, I don’t recommend going to the gym at all. 2-3 hours of body-weight training per week combined with a lot of walking or light jogging, and perhaps a session of interval running thrown in sometimes should do the trick for anyone.
Check out You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren – this book has seriously changed everything I knew about exercising. Since starting the program, I have achieved most of my fitness goals and I would never imagine going to the gym again in my life. It’s so easy to exercise when you can use things you have in your house, such as chairs, towels, broom sticks, etc. It’s fun and it works!
Another great way to exercise can be found in this free Primal Blueprint Fitness e-book by Mark Sisson (marksdailyapple.com – you just need to subscribe to their newsletter to get access to it). I love the fact that it’s based on the way primal people used to exercise – can’t get any closer to our origins than that. I love this almost as much as You Are Your Own Gym.
And if for some (weird) reason you aren’t willing to start an exercise program yet, then just do whatever you enjoy. It’s fine as long as you’re moving and increasing your heart rate.
My personal favourite is this – go grocery shopping but leave your car at home. It’s even better if you have to climb a hill on the way home. This makes me sweat like crazy every time I do it – and I do it a few times a week. You save money on petrol and you get healthier, isn’t that cool? Plus, you are more mindful with your purchases because you don’t want to carry too much all the way home. That’s what I call a perfect exercise for mind and body! 🙂
Go swimming if you can. Ride a bicycle to work. Take your dog for a long walk. Go hiking with your family on the weekend. Play Frisbie with your kids. Even cleaning your house counts as an exercise. Do whatever you want – but keep moving!
Also remember this – exercising works in perfect synergy with healthy eating. You can exercise all you want and you won’t get far if you are eating junk. The same goes for eating healthily but not moving – you need both to achieve acne free and radiant skin.
What’s your relationship with exercising? Has it helped your skin? What’s your favourite way to keep yourself moving?
Watch this article in video format here:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a tiny commission. However, the price for you will remain the same. All the products I recommend are personally selected by me because I simply think they’re great. Thank you so much for supporting my blog – it will help me spread the message of health and well-being!