At Yeotown Health Retreat in both our Home of Well-Being in Devon, UK, and our sister retreat in Madeira, we have a keen focus on movement and exercise for many reasons, to promote that all important overall feeling of well-being.
We understand that whilst having an all encompassing, rigorous and regular skin care routine is a wonderful thing to gift your skin with and many of us know the benefits of diet and skin health, but what about movement and exercise? How does it affect it both directly and indirectly and what is the best type of exercise to improve your skin health?
Physiologically, movement and exercise requires the activation of the primary systems in the body, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine and immune. When we exercise regularly throughout the week, each of these systems undergoes differing adaptations that increase the body’s efficiency and capacity to respond to these demands being put upon it.
There are many differing factors at play in increasing these growths in efficiencies, in the main part and they are the length or duration, force and loads used in sessions and the starting level of fitness.
Stopping or winding down the level of exercise will decrease the efficiencies and capacity that were improved upon and this process is called ‘detraining’. It is why it is so important to have regular movement and exercise as part of your week.
Let’s take a look at the top benefits of movement and exercise for your skin:
- Improved Blood Flow to Cultivate and Sustain Blood Cells
In regard to skin specifically, exercise increases blood flow to the skin and also increases lymph flow which improves circulation and these effects are apparent even when not exercising. All of our body’s cells are nurtured by this blood flow and therefore it leads to increased vitality and improves our ability to repair and replace damaged cells. Overall, increase in exercise will lead to a more radiant glow in the skin but it is well worth being mindful that sometimes those managing underlying skin health issues such as Rosacea and Eczema to name just a couple, may not benefit from strong cardio exercise as it may worsen their condition. You can read more here about this guidance from The National Eczema Association and The National Rosacea Society
Bearing this in mind, many chronic skin conditions are also worsened by stress and that triggers various physiological responses in the body which often lead to flare-ups, breakouts and allergic reactions. Exercise has real benefits in reducing the body’s elevated hormonal and immune response to stress and therefore this can minimise chronic skin condition reactions. Choosing the best type of exercise is key here.
- Improved Blood Flow Removes Toxins From The Skin
With this improved blood flow gained from exercise and vital nutrients being delivered to the cells, it is also true that toxins are removed in the same way. The benefit of the improvement in flow comes in the form of speed. If cells are getting the nutrients they need faster as a result, toxins are also being removed faster which means they are spending less time in the cells causing damage.
- Can Prevent and Even Reverse Ageing
A research study that examined the skin of individuals who were 65 and older revealed some impressive findings. The study took a base sample of the community members’ skin. Then, these individuals were asked to maintain a moderate aerobic exercise routine for three months. When testing the skin after the three month exercise period, the findings were remarkable. The skin of the individuals who were exercising more frequently closely resembled healthy skin for individuals of much younger ages, between 20 and 40. In the past, dermatologists believed that exercising could help to keep skin looking healthier, but this recent research tells us exercising may actually make it possible for you to turn back the clock for your skin. With just thirty minutes of aerobic exercise each day, you may just start looking younger.
- Improving Our Overall Well-Being Protects The Skin
Although we know that our skin is a vital protective organ for our body, our immune system that more so runs things on the inside, if compromised by our poor overall health, will have trouble in keeping the body protected from infection and disease and therefore skin health will suffer as a result. The stronger we keep our immune system, the more beneficial to our overall health and therefore protecting the largest organ in our body, the skin.
The Best Type of Exercise for Skin Health
There’s a couple of ways to look at this and you may find that you are pulled toward one more than the other depending on what type appeals and perhaps your lifestyle.
In terms of cellular level changes and improving cell renewal or function, weight, endurance and/or high intensity workouts are the best bet.
The other side to this is that de-stressing and improved sleep play an important role in overall well-being and therefore choosing a form of exercise that aids this such as yoga or pilates could also be very beneficial to skin health.
Ultimately though, the only way to choose the right form of exercise for you, is to choose the types of exercise that you enjoy. That way you are more likely to stick at it so that you really begin to feel the benefits!
While much research still goes on to really solidify the evidence of more youthful, firmer, less wrinkled skin in those that exercise regularly, why wait for those results?
Our bodies crave movement and respond positively in a multitude of ways both internally and eternally so grab your trainers and head out to the gym or have a gentle run or roll out your yoga mat and try a beginners Vinyasa Yoga Flow with Yeotowns founder, Mercedes Sieff and just begin!