Even through we may not necessarily practise it, we all know that exercise is good for us. Whether it's a brisk walk around the park or a gruelling game of tennis, there are a multitude of benefits to be had from getting your heart pumping and your body moving.
However, apart from a toned tummy and lean physique, there could be another way to benefit from exercise, and it's all to do with your skin. Here is what you should know.
How does exercise fit in to skin care?
There are a wide range of factors than can influence the appearance and health of your skin. They include diet, as well as hydration, and of course, your choice of skincare products. All of these combine to either benefit or detriment your skin, inflaming or soothing concerns such as acne, age spots and rosacea.
Exercise forms another piece in the puzzle, proving to be not only beneficial for your general fitness and well-being, but for your skin.
What is the link between exercise and skin health?
When we exercise, our heart rate rises, pumping blood to our muscles to allow them to function properly. With this increased blood flow, oxygen and other nutrients are transported throughout the body, with the skin on the receiving end. Another effect of this heightened circulation is that waste products are carried away from the cells – including damaging free radicals.
"We tend to focus on the cardiovascular benefits of physical activity, and those are important. But anything that promotes healthy circulation also helps keep your skin healthy and vibrant," dermatologist Dr Ellen Marmur, told WebMD.
"By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system," Dr Marmur adds. "You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside."
Exercise and stress
Apart from helping to build up your fitness levels, exercise is also known to be a great way to reduce stress. It does this by releasing endorphins, feel-good neurotransmitters that give us that pleasant buzz after a good run or gym class.
As explained by Mayo Clinic, exercise also helps us to forget about the little things that have been bothering us during the day so that we can focus on our body's movements. Regular exercise can also help to improve our quality of sleep – a lack of which can aggravate stress. As noted by University of Cincinnati's Dr Brian B Adams, conditions such as acne and eczema can see improvements with stress relief.
As stress can have an adverse effect on skin, exercise can indirectly help our skin by alleviating stress, meaning there is one more reason to get active.
How much exercise do I need?
If your schedule is jammed and you think you can't fit in hour-long gym sessions, don't feel too despondent. Every little bit counts! Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can be beneficial, even if you end up splitting this into three 10-minute walks on your breaks at work, or before/after the school run. As noted by Mayo Clinic, the most important thing to remember about exercise is to make it a regular feature in your life.