Some of us know all to well that as we age, there are dramatic changes to our skin, and not usually for the better. Crow’s feet, laugh lines, sagging skin, the works. But now, science is proving that moderate cardio exercise can reverse these natural processes at any age.
The New York Times recently reported on a study from McMaster University in Ontario, one of the big names in exercise physiology research. Essentially, scientists found the above to be true: that exercise can slow or even reverse the signs of aging skin. How? Well, they’re not quite sure how it works—one theory is that an increase in a certain muscle protein called myokines helps halt and reverse the process. Regardless of the actual process, researchers say they have clear proof that it does work—and that younger looking skin could be just a few workouts away.
Here’s what went down in the lab: The researches measured skin samples from participants’ rear ends (a spot they picked to ensure the skin had experienced minimal sun exposure and damage!) then put them through a 3-month basic endurance training program. (The program included jogging or cycling at a moderately strenuous pace, about 65% of their maximum aerobic capacity, twice per week for 30 minutes.) They remeasured the samples, the study found that the 65-year-old samples now resembled that of a 30- or 40-year-old.
Does that amount of exercise sound like too much, even for younger looking skin? It’s all about how you break it up. Why not try these sneaky ways to fit in 30 minutes a couple of times per week:
- Two 15-minute power walks: one on your lunch break, and one after work
- Half of a Zumba class or dance party in your room!
- Speedy bike ride to the grocery story or other errands
- A fun-themed 5K walk/run
Keep in mind, this principle does not apply to sun damaged skin. The irony is noted, as this sun exposure is often obtained through our outdoor workouts! Nevertheless, don’t let that stop you from lacing up your tennis shoes and finding a way to get moving that you enjoy. Just load up on the SPF!