The Free Thing That Helps You Anti-Age

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We’ve seen studies linking exercise to many internal health benefits, but this latest one shows an external benefit as well, and it’s a big one: younger-looking skin. 

Published in Science Advances, the study takes a closer look at the role endurance exercise—think cardio, not strength-training—plays in turning back the clock at a cellular level for a more youthful look.

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Researchers studied 10 young and healthy participants, each of whom underwent muscle biopsies before and after riding a stationary bike for 45 minutes. Although pretty small, the findings reveal the connection between cardio exercise and an increase in a compound called NRF1 (nuclear respiratory factor 1) in the muscles, which affects our telomeres (the caps at the end of each strand of DNA, which are considered by scientists to hold the secrets to longevity and how our bodies will age).

“I agree with these findings that a good cardio workout is critical for anti-aging,” says Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie. “When you work up a sweat, it boosts your circulation and contributes to your glow factor. The American Medical Association has also conducted studies on this topic, and other expert sources have spoken out about how exercise is good for your skin. Keeping your cells as young possible by increasing cardio, which therefore increases circulation, is important. The cells turn over faster, so your tissue looks tighter and firmer and your overall skin just simply looks better. This type of exercise also decreases many stress-related skin conditions, including acne, eczema and psoriasis.”

So next time you think about skipping that morning spin class, think again. If you can slim your waistline and give your skin a youthful boost, in addition to a lengthy list of other health benefits, it’s a no-brainer.

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