Skin workout for health


A friend told me a few weeks ago that her doctor suggested she ratchet up her weekly workouts. “That dog you walk?” he said. “You need to walk it more.” She’s pushing 70 and is one of the most physically active people I know. Yard work, snow-shoveling, baseball with her grandson—she’s just a ball of energy.

“I’m getting to an age where I’d like to quit worrying about my weight!” she laughed. “Can’t I just eat some mashed potatoes in peace?”

I wish her doctor had expanded on the reasons for fitness, because it’s not all about heart, joint, and muscle health—issues she’s frankly getting tired of hearing about at her age.  He might have at least mentioned some of the lesser-known benefits. After all, you really need to switch out the carrot in front of your nose every so often to stay motivated. Here’s a carrot to add to the rotation: Working out is good for your skin.

Get your heart rate up, and you increase your blood circulation. This, in turns, helps with the delivery of nutrients throughout your body—including to your skin cells. The increased circulation helps whisk away toxins and prime your skin for collagen-production. Collagen diminishes with age, leaving wrinkles and lines in its wake. Increasing its production is a good thing.

Even more compelling, exercise has been shown to reduce your body’s production of certain hormones. These so-called “male hormones” are also present in women’s bodies and can lead to acne breakouts. They’re the culprit behind prom zits, college exam breakouts, and wedding-day blemishes. These hormones also rev up the most common type of hair loss. Less of them is definitely more.

So next time you’re having trouble getting out to the gym, you won’t have to survey your rear in the mirror to motivate yourself. Pick up your hand mirror instead.  Tell yourself, “This one’s for my skin.”