05/05/2016 06:58 BST | Updated 04/05/2017 06:12 BST

How to Exercise for Healthy Skin


We're constantly told how important exercise is for our physique, but do you know just how important exercise is for healthy skin? When we think of exercise we usually associate it with getting fit, loosing weight or gaining muscle but exercise is also vital for skin health. Exercise can have incredible benefits on the skin which are often overlooked when we're busy looking for the next sought after cream to plump skin, minimise wrinkles and reduce breakouts. We're too busy searching for that miracle product or wonder supplement that will solve all our skin problems with very minimal effort.

You can eat like saint, but if you're not doing the correct amount of exercise, you'll never achieve that healthy glow that no beauty product can mimic! Likewise, you can exercise like a pro, but without adequate nutrition you're never to go reach optimum health and beautiful skin.

How to exercise for healthy skin

For truly radiant skin, you need to start seeing your daily workout as a beauty treatment. I mean, it increases circulation which brings extra blood flow and oxygen to the skin, which will give you a post-facial glow without the price tag, it boosts your self confidence almost immediately - and nothing is more sexy and beautiful than confidence! Regular exercise also improves your sleep patterns and reduces stress and anxiety - do I need to go into the ins-and-outs of the importance of quality shut-eye? It's called beauty sleep for a reason!

Just one hour of exercise per week can make you significantly happier with your appearance!

Just one hour of exercise per week can make you 17% more content with your appearance than those who don't exercise. Earlier this year, Organic Beauty brand Green People surveyed over 1000 people about their exercise habits and how content they were with their appearance and discovered that just one hour of exercise per week can make you significantly happier with your appearance! Interestingly, out of all the varieties of exercise surveyed, those who did yoga or Pilates were the most content with their appearance and 28% happier with their appearance than non-exercisers.

Can too much exercise cause acne?

When you're constantly searching for that miracle elixir that promises beautiful, youthful skin, it can be easy to develop unhealthy, obsessive habits. Don't get me wrong, exercise is key for beautiful skin, but the pressure we feel to look our best at all times mean obsessive eating habits teamed with excessive workout regimes can actually do more harm than good.

We're often told that stress can trigger acne, but we often associate this acne trigger with psychological stress, and psychological stress alone. It's easy to overlook the fact that too much exercise also causes stress and strain on the body and in some cases can cause acne.

Don't be dissuaded from working out as it's not exercise that can cause bad skin, it's how you exercise that could be the problem. There's a fine line between training hard and overtraining, which pushes the body's stress response too the extreme and can cause many unwanted health issues.

It's not exercise that causes acne, it's HOW you exercise that could be the problem...

Too much high-intensity exercise can lead to an increase in the release of the stress-hormone cortisol, from your adrenal glands. It's cortisol that controls your body's stress levels, but too much of it can have negative effects on the human body, including skin problems. The trick to exercising for optimum health and beauty is to do shorter burst of exercise 3-5 times a week rather than 1-2 longer, more intense sessions.

There is also a good deal of research out there which also explores the link between intensive exercise (10-12 hours per week) and increased levels of testosterone. High levels of testosterone is bad news for skin as it can increase sebum production that combine with dead skin cells and debris to form a plug which can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

Top exercising tips for healthier skin

  • Find something you love: If you find enjoyment from exercise, then you'll unlock so many more benefits. There are hundreds of different things you can do to get moving. If you hate running, that's fine! Try a Pilates class. If you can't afford a class, don't worry! Put on your favourite tunes and dance around your living room for 30 minutes.

  • Reduce the frequency: If pumping some serious iron and exercising till every muscle aches is your favourite way to keep fit then you don't have to give it up for the sake of your skin. Just reduce the frequency of your workouts to 1-2 times per week so you don't over do it.

  • Do something that makes you sweat twice a week: Perform short intensive 30 minute workouts 1-2 times a week. These exercises should get your heart pumping faster, your breathing heavier and your brow sweating harder.

  • Perform lower intensity exercise the rest of the week: Try to do lower intensity exercises 4-5 days a week such as walking, Pilates, yoga or swimming. I find performing a few sun salutation sequences each morning is an excellent way to work a variety of different muscle groups and fill some of your movement quota before you've even left the house.

  • Get enough rest: Make sure you get enough rest and sleep between workouts, especially if you're doing intensive training. If you start to find that your sleep patterns are disturbed and you're not getting adequate sleep then you may have to readjust your exercise schedule and reduce the intensity of your workouts.

  • Start exercising TODAY: The worst thing you can do for your skin is not exercise at all, so get some extra movement into your day and slowly build up to a regular routine that works for you.

Exercise plays such a key part in the journey to clear skin and you don't have to become a total gym-bunny to reap the blemish banishing rewards! Remember, just one hour of exercise a week is all it takes to boost the way you see yourself in the mirror by 17%! Start with little changes like going for a 30 minute walk after work or grab a skipping rope, put on some tunes and giving yourself a 15 minute workout in your garden. It won't be long before all the small perks, such as enhanced mood, increased confidence, better sleep and reduced stress, will have you glowing in a way you never thought was possible.

Originally posted on Skyn.Therapy.

Amy Saunders is an expert in natural beauty and founded her virtual acne clinic Skyn.Therapy after suffering from severe acne for 13 years. Amy delves deeper into the root causes of acne, proving you don't need harsh chemicals to achieve a flawless complexion. Find Amy on Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog Skyn.Therapy.