As all of us know, our skin changes in so many ways as we get older resulting in wrinkles, changes in tone and a duller complexion. For most of us from the age of 25-30 we will begin to experience a thickening of our stratum corneum, our top layer of skin. When this happens we will often feel like our skin is dry and tight and this will block many of our best products from penetrating the skin effectively.
At the same time, the layer of skin beneath the epidermis, the dermis, begins to thin. It loses elasticity, making lines and wrinkles more apparent and skin will often appear thinner. These changes happen to all of us and are the result of the passage of time.
Recently though some interesting research was completed at the McMaster University in Ontario. The study showed mice that were bred to age prematurely and were given a steady routine of exercise could put off or even undo the signs of early aging. When members of this breed of mice remained sedentary, they rapidly grew frail, ill and grey. If they were given access to running wheels, they maintained healthy brains, hearts, muscles, reproductive organs, and fur for longer than their sedentary friends. Their fur never even turned gray.
The University began to wonder if this result would be the same with humans so started out on a study where scientists gathered 29 male and female volunteers aged between 20 -84. About half of the participants exercised for at least 3 hours each week. The others were mainly sedentary, exercising for less than an hour per week.
The researchers examined the skin on the buttock of each participant. They wanted to study skin that had not been exposed frequently to sun. The scientists biopsied skin samples from each volunteer and examined them. When compared strictly by age, the skin samples overall showed what would be normal for their age. Older volunteers generally had thicker outer layers of skin and significantly thinner inner layers.
Results changed noticeably when the researchers further categorized the skin samples by exercise habits. They found that both male and female participants who exercised over the age of 40 had noticeably thinner healthy stratum corneums and thicker dermal layers of skin. Their skin was much closer in composition to that of the 20 and 30 year olds when compared to others of their age, even if they were past 65 years old.
The researchers repeated a similar study but this time with totally sedentary participants and started introducing exercise. The volunteers were aged at 65 or older and, at the study’s start, had normal skin for their age. They began a training program, working out twice a week by jogging or cycling at a moderate pace. This continued for three months. After completing the three months of training, the researchers biopsied the volunteers skin for the second time.
The skin samples looked completely different with skin layers that looked very similar to those of a 20-40 year old. “I don’t want to over-hype the results, but, really, it was pretty remarkable to see,” said Dr. Tarnopolsky. Under a microscope, the volunteers’ skin “looked like that of a much younger individual, and all that they had done differently was exercise.”
We all know that exercise is good for our general health but now there is another very good reason to get moving. Regular exercise plays a big part in beautiful skin.
Skin is the largest organ for detoxification in the body. Sweating not only helps regulate body temperature it also eliminates toxins. Exercise boosts circulation which nourishes skin cells. Blood flow also carries waste including free radicals from your precious skin cells. With boosted circulation comes oxygen and nutrients which revitalises dull skin.
Exercise also eases stress which we know has huge impacts on our skin.
Start exercising and age later.