It’s no secret that exercise is good for you, but did you know is could be your secret to ageless skin?
According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, resistance training workouts like weightlifting and cardio are both able to improve skin health. In fact, lifting weights turned out to provide even more benefits that traditional ‘good for skin’ exercises like walking or cycling.
Ageless Skin from Exercise?
To back up a bit, we’ve studied the effects of some exercise on skin health before. Back in 2015, a study demonstrated that endurance exercises had anti-aging impacts on skin, including improvement of wound healing.
This new study sought to explore how different kinds of exercise effected the skin. They found that while both aerobic exercises (like cardio workouts) and resistance training were both effective at improving skin elasticity, resistance training also helped reverse skin thinning.
According to the lead on the study, exercise scientist at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Satoshi Fujita, the findings “suggest that the skin is strongly influenced not only by external factors such as UV radiation and dryness,” Fujita explains, “But also by internal factors” such as gene expression and inflammation.
Patients who start exercising regularly (30 mins twice a week) saw the production of their collagen boosted, the elasticity of their skin improve, while the skin’s extracellular matrix became denser. All this makes skin look more youthful.
But only with resistance training did the dermis itself become thicker.
As we age, our skin becomes thinner both in the outermost layer, the epidermis, and in the dermis, the interior layer of skin. The dermis thins due to decreases in vascularity and the number of fibroblasts in your skin. Blood vessels become more fragile, and skin becomes more easily bruised.
So, finding reliable ways to increase the thickness of the dermis is a crucial part of anti-aging treatments, products and (now) wellness routines.
“It is possible to expect an additive effect of skin improvement when both resistance and aerobic exercise are combined,” Fujita added.
Just like all initial studies, the work doesn’t end here. This small study only examined 56 patients, all of whom were previously sedentary middle-aged Japanese women. While the findings are certainly a good sign to move forward, there’s a lot of moving forward left to do.
Once this work is replicated on more people of more backgrounds and peer reviewed, we’ll have more of an idea of exactly how much exercise impacts the health of our skin. We can’t say that lifting weights is your guaranteed secret to ageless skin, but these findings are encouraging nonetheless. Until then, it doesn’t hurt to consider ageless skin a decent motivator to get to the gym regularly.
Hey, if it works, it works.