Sometimes the promises of a healthier heart, stronger immune system, and longer life span aren’t enough to get me to the gym on the laziest of days. Admittedly, even as someone who knows all of the benefits of exercise, I often need even more lure to push me into action. So, how about adding the beauty benefits of sweating to the already long and advantageous list?
Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror after a workout, and been a pleasantly taken aback by how radiant your complexion looks (albeit a bit pink)? This is a result of the oxygen-rich blood throwing through your body thanks to the hard work of your heart and lungs.The added blood, oxygen and nutrient supply to the skin improves collagen production which, as we know, keeps the skin smooth and plump. If you share a gym with your ex-boyfriend like me, it’s not the worst time to have an unexpected run-in.
Sweating also cleanses the skin from the inside out, explains dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD. “By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system.” The fatal flaw of many, though, is not washing their faces shortly after a workout. Though you’re glowing, you mustn't go to bed without cleansing the grime that was expelled. Otherwise, you’re waking up to a bacterial infection that would make even your 16-year-old, pimple-proned self blush.
And while you might think your damp locks look unsightly after an intense run, that moisture is not far from a deep conditioning treatment, owing once again to increased blood flow — this time to your noggin'. Good, regular sweat sessions send a powerful dose of antioxidants to the scalp, keeping hair strong, intact and invigorated.
Finally, let’s talk about the most obvious benefit of a regular workout program: stress management. Stress alone can cause hair loss, acne and irritating skin conditions like eczema. It’s widely agreed upon that exercise affects mood. However, “a 2011 study took this even further: It looked at 127 depressed people who hadn’t experienced relief from [common antidepressants] and found that exercise led 30 percent of them into remission — a result that was as good as, or better than, drugs alone.”
So it’s as simple as this: A few simple, regular turns around the track will not only lower your stress, but boost your beauty from the inside out. Why not reap the natural benefits that come from committed cardiovascular activity? They extend far beyond improved muscle tone and squeezing into those skinny jeans.
- By guest blogger, Caitlin M. Ryan