There are plenty of reasons to exercise.
For some, it’s because you booked a beach holiday or have an upcoming wedding while others are focused on staying healthy overall. Whatever your motivation, there is no better time than the present. And, it’s not just your body, health and mind that will reap the rewards.
There’s another, stealthier payoff: healthy skin.
“Skin is the body’s largest living organ and sweating through the skin is the best form of detox,” says co-founders of Bodypass, Carla McMillan (yoga teacher and healthy chef) and Georgia van Tiel (exercise scientist).
Here, the experts weigh in on the extensive beauty benefits…
Ever catch someone walking down the street with a radiant pink flush and post-workout glow? Working out not only boosts circulation but also improves lymphatic drainage, resulting in a glowing complexion. And, while exercise like yoga can’t minimise cellulite (which is genetic), maintaining a healthy exercise regime alongside a healthy diet will minimise fatty deposits, which contribute to pesky cellulite.
Regular exercise can improve blood flow to your scalp, keeping your hair stronger and healthier. And, because exercise lowers stress levels, lower stress means your hair is less likely to be brittle or, worse, fall out. “Each hair follicle (hair root) has blood vessels that nourish the follicle by supplying it with nutrients and oxygen,” explains van Tiel. “The supply of nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles is necessary for hair growth to occur.”
Some people believe exercise can cause acne. But, the truth is sweat, caused from exercise, actually helps to create a better skin protection barrier. It’s important though not to use cheap-quality body wash post-working out. Some body wash formulas can strip the body of acidity, tipping the body’s pH state towards alkaline. When the body and skin’s pH balance is thrown, bacteria can form, leading to the development of blemishes acne, so it’s important to invest in a low-irritant, pH balanced formula like QV Body Wash or Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.
Our skin regenerates at night – calling it “beauty sleep” for a reason – so can regular exercise lead to a better, deeper sleep? “Considering how much time we spend sitting still and being sedentary, any form of exercise that gets the heart rate going and the metabolism stimulated, makes the body tired and lethargic at night,” says van Tiel. Adding, “Exercising first thing in the morning really gets the metabolism firing and burning fat from the get go.” But, if you can’t fit a morning workout in – because let’s face it: life gets in the way! – van Tiel recommends trying to aim to exercise at least two hours before heading to bed. Why? “You don’t want to be over stimulated as you start to wind down for the day,” she says. Good point and good night.
Feeling stressed? Go for a run, do some yoga, practice pilates, take a walk or do whatever else tickles your fancy (and most importantly, doesn’t feel like a chore). Exercise is an excellent stress reliever as it produces all of the happy hormones (like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine) in the brain. “It also helps to balance your entire endocrine system (including stress, sexual, reproductive and metabolic hormones),” explains McMillan.
As for the best type of exercise for your skin, McMillan and van Tiel says all of it is good. “Every modality will improve circulation and reduce stress but it’s a wise move to mix up your workouts as often as possible.”
Try adding 30 minutes of a few simple yoga postures or a brisk walk to your day three times a week, McMillan and van Tiels says, to see the best beauty returns all round.