Want younger skin? Exercise Can Help!

Posted 11/07/2014 | By HealthCorps

Skin changes as we age. Most of us will develop wrinkles, sagging skin, crow’s feet around our eyes and our skin will get generally flaky and drier. Sun damage can certainly hasten this process, but it’s a process that will occur inevitably as we get older. Studies at McMaster University showed that rats that had a steady regimen of exercise could hold off or even reverse the signs of early aging.

This study gathered 29 local volunteers, male and female, and had one half of the group perform at least three hours of vigorous exercise weekly, while the remaining half of the group were sedentary, exercising less than an hour a week. Researchers then examined areas of the skin usually covered by clothing (so that sun and other environmental impacts were controlled), taking small biopsies for microscopic examination. The skin samples taken from all the individuals generally correlated to age but, when further subdivided to correlate to the exercise or sedentary habits, dramatic differences were noted. The exercise group skin overall was healthier with a composition closer to twenty or thirty year olds, even when the test subject’s age was over age 65. The researchers felt they were on to something, but they also realized they had not controlled for other lifestyle habits.

The second round of research involved a group of sedentary sixty five year olds, with skin that looked age appropriate. The group was exposed to an endurance exercise program that became more challenging, over a period of three months. Pre-exercise and post-exercise skin biopsies were taken. The skin samples taken after the three months of exercise looked quite different from the pre-exercise biopsies. They appeared similar to those take from subjects ages 20-40. The researchers were actually shocked by the rejuvenation that had occurred. The doctors isolated a particular substance called myokines that enter the blood stream and “jump start” cells. The levels of myokines in the subjects were significantly elevated, after the exercise experience. The researchers believe that no salve, pill, or injection will replicate the impact that exercise had on the skin.

So imagine the cumulative anti-aging impact on your skin, if you start exercising even earlier in life, like in your teen or young adult years! Get moving!

-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

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