My skin never looks better than when I am exercising regularly. Immediately after exercise, I am glowing, and even the next day, I have a rosy complexion and noticeably plumper, firmer skin. There does seem to be many benefits of exercise for your skin.
But there is a school of thought that exercise can cause premature wrinkles.
Back in the 1990s, the hit US series Ally McBeal (of ‘dancing-baby’ fame – you had to be there) featured a ‘face bra’, designed to prevent facial sagging caused by high-impact exercise such as running. It makes sense – I never exercise without a sports bra, but can still feel my cheeks bouncing!
Having said that, the increase in blood – and, therefore, nutrients – flowing to the skin is a definite benefit of exercise, as is the amount of extra water you consume during and after a workout. These factors largely account for both the immediate and the longer-lasting skin benefits that come with exercise.
If you are worried that high-impact exercise is having a detrimental effect on your skin, why not try swapping some of your workouts for low-impact alternatives such as swimming, cycle or yoga?
But remember that weight-bearing pursuits – where your feet pound the ground – are essential for building and maintaining bone and muscle mass, so don’t cut them out altogether.
Some people swear by facial exercises to stop gravity taking its toll. Given that the face is covered by so many muscles, it stands to reason that strengthening and toning these muscles will help to maintain the outward shape of the face.
Then again, making 50 extra smiley faces every day might bring on the crow’s feet faster than if you stayed stony-faced for the next 20 years!
On the whole, I believe the seemingly never-ending list of health benefits that exercise is proven to bring far outweighs any potential downsides. And even working alongside sports experts and fanatics and having several friends with an obsession for marathons, I have yet to meet anyone with exercise-induced wrinkles. Far from it, all the regular exercisers I know are pictures of health!