Exercise Helps Keep Skin Young

April 17, 2014

The morning news shows are all talking today about a new report about how skin has been shown to stay healthier due to exercise. The great results from a study just published (link here to the NY Times report) showed that people who exercised had skin of 20 or 30 year olds, even if they were over 40, or even over 65!

But, this isn’t even the whole story!

I just talked about this in one of my classes, actually! I teach Exercise Science classes at two local community colleges. Another reason they didn’t touch on in this article is that cortisol, the “stress hormone”, causes our bodies to stop the re-building of collagen (collagen is constantly being broken down and rebuilt by our bodies). When we are stressed, we create cortisol, and the breakdown of collagen still happens, but the rebuilding is slowed or stopped entirely. Exercise is the best way to “burn off” cortisol; but, if we don’t exercise, we have to wait a bunch longer for the stress to go away and therefore our levels of cortisol to decrease. Of course, if we are constantly stressed, like many Americans, and don’t fit in exercise, then we don’t ever get our cortisol levels down. So, collagen keeps getting broken down. Collagen is a connective tissue, and makes a firm matrix in many tissues, like our skin, and in our cartilage, like the cartilage in our knees, for example. Without healthy collagen in our skin, our skin sags. Plus, the cartilage in our knees, and other areas of our bodies, is weaker, which can lead to an increased risk of damage to our cartilage– leading to meniscus tears, or increased risk of arthritis.

So, exercise truly is the best thing we have to a fountain of youth! Do some exercise *today* to stay young and vibrant! 🙂

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