Exercise has a number of benefits, and improving your skin is one of them. Regular exercise stimulates collagen production and increases the amount of human growth hormone released by your body. Both of these factors can make your skin healthier and thicker. However, some people have skin conditions that are aggravated by exercise.
Connect with Collagen
Exercise stimulates the formation of collagen, a protein that comprises most of the connective tissue in tendons, ligaments and bones. Collagen is responsible for supporting the skin, and its production slows the aging process by countering the formation of wrinkles. Producing more collagen makes your skin thicker due to the influence of increased collagen fibers present. Unfortunately, a short stint of exercise won't thicken your skin. It takes dedication to long-term training or prolonged exercise to stimulate collagen production.
Stay Young with Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone, secreted from the pituitary gland, diminishes with age. By the seventh decade of life, HGH production is only 25 percent of its production in your teen years. However, even though the years are advancing, exercise -- strength-training specifically -- increases production of human growth hormone, according to "Effects of Progressive Resistance Training on Growth Hormone and Testosterone Levels in Young and Elderly Subjects" by Craig et al. Besides other youth-promoting benefits of HGH, skin becomes thicker with increases in this growth hormone.
How Much Is Enough?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend muscle strengthening exercises -- working all the major muscles, such as hips, legs, back, shoulders, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms -- two days each week for adults ages 18 and older. You should also do aerobic exercises each week, at the intensity level of your choice. If you prefer moderate-intensity exercise -- such as walking, you should exercise 150 minutes per week. However, if you rev up your routine to vigorous-intensity aerobics, you can cut the time in half, to 75 minutes.
Be Sensible with Sensitive Skin
Although exercise is beneficial to most people's skin, it can also exacerbate certain skin conditions. If you suffer from rosacea or have reddish skin, the increase of blood flow caused by exercise can worsen the condition. Exercise can also aggravate acne or cause skin irritation. In rare instances, rashes or exercise-induced urticaria -- hives -- can occur after exercise.
- Journal of Physiology: Type I Collagen Synthesis and Degradation in Peritendinous Tissue After Exercise
- DrLam.com: Youthful Skin Protocol
- Mechanisms of Ageing and Development: Effects of Progressive Resistance Training on Growth Hormone and Testosterone Levels in Young and Elderly Subjects
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?