After you read this article, it will be much easier to give up your lounge chair and get your body going…

We’re used to hearing about the beneficial effects of exercise on respiratory and heart function, weight loss and even depression and anxiety. But we hear much less about the connection between physical activity and improved skin appearance.

Yet it turns out there is a strong link between the two, and if you maintain a moderate exercise routine (4-5 times a week, 45 minutes each session), there’s a chance you’ll get much more from it – not just better health, but also more beautiful, refreshed skin.

Here are a few facts about the connection between fitness and facial skin:

The skin regenerates faster

According to a study published in 2008 in the Free Radical Biology & Medicine Journal, regular exercise at a moderate level (75% of maximum heart rate), 3 to 5 times a week, helps to improve the skin renewal process. This is due to the increase in oxygen levels of the skin that occurs during exercise, creating better conditions for the production of collagen and elastin, which are responsible for the skin’s flexibility and firmness.

The skin breathes better

Increased sweating that occurs during physical exercise opens up the skin and allows it to breathe better. This gives the skin a healthier appearance.

Reduced stress leads to fewer breakouts and other undesirable skin conditions

Stress (mental tension) is proven as having damaging effects on the skin. Stress raises the level of cortisol in the blood, increases activity of the sebaceous glands, and makes the skin oilier. This causes worsening acne and seborrhea. It can also cause outbreaks of allergies, herpes and psoriasis. Regular moderate exercise can release the buildup of stress and help you to relax. The skin reflects the soul, so there’s a good chance it will look better when you are relaxed, and outbreaks of acne and other conditions will significantly reduce.

Maintain a stable body weight

Regular physical activity helps you to maintain a stable body weight. Fluctuations in weight causes the skin to stretch and slacken time after time.  As we get older, the level of collagen and elastin in our skin is reduced, and if body weight is unstable, the skin has a harder time returning to its previous condition. It becomes flimsier, wrinkled and sagging, giving a tired, aged appearance.

Better quality sleep

Physical exercise, up to four hours before bedtime, is shown in numerous studies to improve the quality of sleep. And when you sleep better, your skin looks much better!

To sum up, in order to maintain a younger, healthier skin appearance, it’s important to have a regular exercise routine. Choose an activity you enjoy, that’s well suited to you, such as swimming, walking or dancing, and stick to it. If you’re exercising outdoors, avoid using makeup, and protect your skin from UV exposure by using a sun cream.