Would You Do This for 30 Minutes Twice a Week if it Made You Look 20 Years Younger?
Science has given us all one more reason to hit the gym. Exercise not only helps maintain health but may also reverse skin aging. In fact, according to a new study, it could be the best-kept secret for acquiring more youthful skin, as their research shows it stands to make you look 10 to 20 years younger.
In the study at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, researchers examined the deterioration of skin health that develops from aging rather than from sun damage. They were aware that after the age of 40, the outer protective layer of the skin thickens while the inner layer of the skin thins. As the thinning progresses, the skin loses cells and elasticity, which leads to sagging.
They had found in previous research involving mice that exercise appeared to help prevent the development of furrows and wrinkles in the fur as well as graying of the fur. After observing these results, they hypothesized that exercise may also reduce skin aging in humans. Yet findings from mice studies don’t always hold true for people, so the authors of the study put it to the test.
Results Characterized as “Pretty Remarkable”
The study’s participants were 29 men and women between the ages of 20 and 84. Approximately half were active, engaging in at least three hours of exercise per week; while the other half were sedentary, exercising less than one hour per week. To view the effects of exercise on skin aging, the scientists took a biopsy of skin from the participants’ buttocks where sun damage would not be a factor.
Not surprisingly, they found the older participants had thicker outer skin layers and thinner inner skin layers. However, the skin of the group who exercised frequently did not age as fast as the skin of the sedentary group. Surprisingly, although the active participants were older than 40, their skin composition was similar to those in their 20s and 30s.
Although the results were tantalizing, the researchers realized they could be partly due to other factors like diet and genetics. So to rule these out, they put their hypothesis to the test again.
In the second phase of the study, the sedentary participants over 65 were required to engage in an endurance training program twice a week for three months. This consisted of jogging or cycling at a moderately strenuous pace for 30 minutes. At the end of the program, their skin biopsies showed signs of age reversal and amazingly, looked similar to the biopsies of the participants who were aged 20 to 40. Lead author Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky characterized the results to the New York Times as being “pretty remarkable.” The results were presented at the American Society for Sports Medicine.
How Did Exercise Produce These Results?
The scientists checked for changes in myokines, substances created by working muscles and secreted into the blood stream. Myokines are known to stimulate beneficial changes in cells within the body far away from the muscles themselves. Testing showed the skin of the participants had 50 percent more of a certain myokine after exercising than was present at the beginning of the study. The researchers believe these substances are probably involved in the anti-aging effects of exercise on the skin.
Carolyn Dean, MD, ND – Medical Advisory Board Member of the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association, shared her thoughts on the study with Live in the Now. “In the natural medicine community we have long known that regular exercise gives people zest and energy through increasing circulation. It increases oxygen to different parts of the body, including the skin, which is sure to play a role in reducing the signs of aging.”
Can a lotion or potion duplicate the beneficial effects of exercise on the skin? Tarnopolsky thinks it’s unlikely. It appears that all the expensive creams in the world can’t compete with the anti-aging power of exercise.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.
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Article updated on: May 14th, 2014