Since our childhood days, we have been made to believe that exercise is a necessity for a healthy mind and body. Some would even go so far as to say it is a way of life. On the whole, exercise can be any physical activity from swimming, jogging and team sports to even golfing. It is common knowledge that being active has a ton of health benefits, the most common of all is the toning of the body and the lean and trim figure that one can keep up with regular workout sessions.
On top of that, most people would realise that after a lung-busting workout, their skin glows from within and feels rejuvenated, far beyond any skincare regime can command.
Ease Cortisol Stress
We all know about cortisol, the stress hormone that wreaks havoc on the mind and body when it hangs at an elevated level over an extended period of time. Just an insight: An elevated cortisol level affects our immunity and bone density, and drastically plays with our weight, blood pressure and cholesterol like a yo-yo. To add to that, our complexion would be the next out of the window, since our stress levels easily translate into pimply skin and acne flare-ups.
Scientists have discovered that sebum-producing cells have receptors for stress hormones and this causes more oil to mix with the dead skin cells and clog up the hair follicles — this shows up as pimples or acne cysts that we are all familiar with. In particular, those who currently endure acne issues would be much more prone to an acne breakout when the going gets tough at work or in school.
When your stressors are ever-present, your fight-or-flight response stays on red alert all the time and this quickly wears your body out. To work on your “fight” response, unleash your aggression by picking up kickboxing, Muay Thai or have a casual sparring session with a colleague (one who is willing of course!).
Release Oxidative Stress
In addition to cortisol, there’s another kind of stress that we should be worrying about. This should be rather unfamiliar to most, but oxidative stress happens when your body’s antioxidant defenses fall short of completely repairing the destruction caused by free radicals on our cells. Consequently, our internal structures take a hit and this causes our skin health to deteriorate.
Thankfully, research has been done to detail how regular and moderate exercise can boost your body’s production of natural antioxidants, which work round the clock to safeguard your cells. Ironically, not all physical activities are the same, since workouts that rank high on the intensity scale actually contribute to oxidative damage. Moderate workouts, like jogging or even a leisurely game of basketball, are well within those comfortable levels for the best results.
Increase Blood Flow
This isn’t going to be exactly groundbreaking news, since we all understand the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. As you work out, the heart works harder to increase blood flow to other parts of the body to meet the oxygen needs. When it does that, it carries even more oxygen and nutrients to the working cells across your entire body, including your skin.
As one enters, the other takes its leave. On the way out, waste products are taken along and flushed out of the system. Part of the outgoing products includes free radicals, which are the ones responsible for damaging your cells.
Skincare Tips Before a Workout
We know how motivated you would be to take on an extra pair of weights and hit the gym after this article. Even though a well-paced workout regime gets your skin back to its original glowing state, that should not mean your skincare maintenance should be the first to go right out the window.
If your workout requires you to step out under the harsh sun rays, make a mental note to dab on a small dollop of sunscreen before leaving the locker room. A common concern for most gym-goers when it comes to sunscreen is that it may feel sticky midway through your workout. That could easily be remedied with a sunscreen that is non-sticky and in a matte finish.
Another important point to note is to cleanse your skin before any workout (vigorous or otherwise) to put to bed the possibility of clogged pores that would lead to acne. That goes without saying that make-up is an absolute no-no. If you are in the business of looking good at all times of the day, nothing beats a natural glow when you are in the midst of a workout.