© 2013 jen

Skin Series – Part 2: How Exercise Affects Your Skin

We know that exercise is good for us.

We know we SHOULD engage in exercise, but many of us get so busy and forget to make it part of our daily or weekly practice.

Today I’m going to share some information about how exercise affects your skin.

People ask me pretty regularly what I’m doing for my skin, and it’s not a simple answer. It’s a multi-layered answer that cannot be summed up in a dinner party conversation, or in passing. It’s really about dietary changes (I was an undiagnosed Celiac eating gluten like a champ), a great face washing regimen, which I talked about last week, and regular exercise.

IMG_1129This is me a little over a year ago as I began to exercise and change my diet. As you can see I wasn’t feeling well at all. Can you see the sallowness and sickness in my skin?

Here are a few ways that exercise benefits your skin:

Circulation– One of the biggest reasons exercise makes your complexion clearer and rosier is that it increases the circulation in the heart and lungs; this leads to more radiant, glowing skin. The better your body’s circulation, the more easily your body can bring oxygen and other nutrients to skin cells and the better your body will be able to flush out toxins. Exercise is really the key to keeping your circulation properly functioning.

Immunity– Regular exercise helps increase the immunity level of your body by increasing your white blood cell count. The more white blood cells you have, the more health reinforcements you have to fight bacteria and viruses.

De-stressExercise also helps decrease stress levels. People with a regular exercise regimen are generally less stressed and more calm than those who do not. When we spend our energy on worry or anger it affects the way we hold our faces. Exercise helps us release emotions and stress and adds to an overall look of health.

Lymph Nodes– Properly functioning lymph nodes are also part of great skin. As we exercise we move muscles which stirs up debris from our bloodstream and cells. This is then moved to our lymph nodes. From the lymph nodes, waste is moved toward the heart through other lymph nodes and once in the heart it is filtered out through the liver and kidney. The lymph nodes are sort of like little trash cans all over our body. We actually have over 500 lymph nodes in the body. The less active we are, the less efficiently they are able to perform, and the puffier a body will appear. Learn more about lymph nodes and the entire lymphatic system here.

A Deeper look at exercise & the lymph nodes

I learned a fun fact from my nutritional therapist, which is that cellulite is a sign that lymph nodes localized in that area aren’t properly flushing out toxins. One strategy for getting your lymph nodes activated is to dry brush your body, which although it isn’t exercise per se, it does have a similar affect as exercise on the body – stimulating blood flow and creating a detox effect – which can result in healthier looking skin, so I thought I’d include it here. Dry brushing is done with a dry, natural bristle brush in the direction of your heart from the extremities of the body. Dry brushing essentially simulates the process that the lymphatic system uses to rid toxins. You can find a step by step guide to dry brushing here. The idea is to brush your skin vigorously enough to make the skin somewhat red. This action removes dead skin cells, tones the skin and helps remove cellulite by aiding the functioning of your lymph nodes. 

Many articles recommend dry brushing daily and I’m sure that is ideal, but for me as long as I remember to do it a few times a week that seems pretty good to me.

The easiest way to incorporate dry brushing into your routine is to do it before you hop in the bath or shower. I just take my brush with me in the bath or shower to wash it.

There are other ways To flush the lymphatic system. Dry brushing is really only one of many. Another great way to flush lymph nodes is by rebounding, which is essentially bouncing. Jumping on a trampoline, jumping rope, bouncing on an exercise ball, and skipping are great forms of rebounding.

There are even more reasons why exercise helps your skin, but these are the biggest.  All of these factors rolled up together are why a person who is exercising regularly has radiant skin. 

IMG_7948This is me today. After a year of diet changes, regular exercise and taking good care of my skin. Ironically, I was afraid regular exercise might cause me to lose my curves and turn into some muscle-bound hard body. That didn’t happen at all.  My curves are actually more defined now. Curvy girls, no need to fear, exercise makes your skin and curves pop!

Without even one of these pieces – a great, non-toxic skin care regimen, diet, and exercise – your skin and your entire body cannot optimally function.  Next week I’ll talk about how to eat for your skin.

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  1. Posted November 25, 2013 at 7:03 pm | #

    Great post! It’s so awesome that you’re willing to show yourself in the photos and share your body with us (so to speak). And you look fabulous, of course!

    • Posted November 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm | #

      Thank you, Dedrick! xoxo