The connection between exercise and skin health with Val Simpson our Resident Fitness Coach

The connection between exercise and skin health with Val Simpson our Resident Fitness Coach

‘Is working out good for your skin?’ As a personal trainer, this is a question I’m often asked.  And the quick answer is ‘yes’! 

I often discuss with clients the mind / body connection and how the benefits of exercise go way beyond changes to body shape or size. Also discussed is how exercise improves mood, mental resilience and stress levels which, also, have an impact on skin health.

The fact is, the skin reflects the health of both body and mind. Aside from the obvious overall health and longevity benefits, there’s a pretty amazing connection between exercise and skin health. Believe it or not, regularly breaking a sweat can have some serious benefits for your skin. If you’re looking for ways to keep your skin looking its best, you definitely need to add exercise to the mix! Here are just a few of the ways that working out can help improve your skin.

Exercising increases your body's oxygen level

This can be beneficial for your skin because it helps to improve its overall elasticity. Additionally, the increased oxygen flow helps to flush out toxins and impurities that can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

Exercise plays an important role in balancing blood sugar levels

This is key to preventing or managing acne and breakouts.

Endorphins released during a workout are a natural mood booster

This has an anti-depressant effect and also reduces stress which will show on the outside with a brighter and more glowing complexion. Which, itself, is a confidence and mood booster 😊

Start with ‘a little and often’

Time can be a barrier for many people wanting to be more physically active.  To be successful you need to MAKE time for exercise (not find time) and get into a routine – just as you do with your skincare and bedtime. The aim is to build activity into your everyday routine so it’s not ‘a thing’ as such!

When life is busy, adding exercise ‘a little and often, works wonders.  I call these ‘exercise snacks’. A neat way to incorporate these ‘snacks’ is by attaching them to a regular daily habit – known as the ‘habit stacking technique’.

Exercise snacks

Increasing daily and weekly activity levels does not necessarily mean finding large blocks of 45 or 60 minutes to attend a class, go for a 10k run or a PT session.

Exercise snacks – short periods of regular activity – are much easier to add into your day. As they’re more accessible, you’re more likely to keep with these daily ‘bites’ of activity to boost your overall active minutes.

It all adds up

If you can find 10-15mins a day, five days a week to move more, that’s over an hour of additional movement each week. It is important and will make a difference. This can be done at home or in/around the office.

At home, try strength exercises coupled with raising your heart rate through short “intense” intervals.

  • IDEA: set up a heavy object at the bottom and top of a flight of stairs, do 15 squats at the bottom, put the weight down, run up the stairs, do 15 squats, put the weight down, walk down the stairs. That’s one round. Keep going for 10-15 minutes. 

At work, incorporate a brisk walk to/from the office or at lunchtime.

  • IDEA: get off a bus or tube stop earlier than usual and walk the extra distance to work (and back again). If you pop out to buy lunch, venture further away rather than go for the closest offering. If you take your own lunch into work, get outside for a 15-20 mins walk after your lunch to balance your blood sugars.

Habit Stacking

This technique can be used for exercise and many other small changes you are trying to implement. This is a proven technique for changing habits I recommend daily to my clients. Think of it as attaching a new habit to an already existing element of your routine. For example:

  • Each time you put the kettle on, grab something heavy and do some squats, walking lunges or press ups against the kitchen counter
  • Each time your brush your teeth, do calf raises or side lunges

Get started today!

Implementing consistent small changes with your exercise will, over time, become part of your daily routine.  Start small – try a new thing each day to see how easy it is to add activity to your routine.

All these extra little moments of activity will make you feel physically better in the long term and mentally proud to have implemented the change. This will also improve mental clarity and productivity. Your energy levels will pick up, your mood will improve and your skin will reflect this.


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