We all know exercise is good for our hearts and bodies, but specific types of exercises can help clear skin and improve your complexion. According to celebrity personal trainer Jillian Michaels, a variety of exercise is key to keeping muscles in top form and your body – and skin – healthy. However, doing the same exercises every day can lead to injury, while any activity that requires lengthy strenuous exertion ends up releasing high amounts of cortisol, which studies have shown breaks down collagen prematurely and ages skin. So what’s the perfect balance to keeping your figure trim and skin glowing?
After doing some research and using myself as a guinea pig, I’ve finally settled into a routine that keeps me strong and full of energy, while also boosting the health of my skin: a weekly combination of Cardio, Toning and Relaxing exercises. Today, we’ll focus on Cardio.
Cardio, or any activity that increases your heart rate and makes you sweat, is great for getting your blood moving. And when your blood moves, so do nutrients, vitamins and toxins. Nutrients and vitamins circulate throughout your body and are able to reach and nourish the skin, while toxins are released through sweat and heavier breathing. Remember though, consistent and steady breathing is very important for safeguarding your skin while working out. Restrained breathing puts pressure on your blood vessels and can cause annoying broken capillaries on the skin.
What qualifies as cardio? Activities like dancing, running, riding a bicycle or even speed walking. Elevated heart rate and dewy perspiration are your goal! I aim to do 30 minutes of cardio 2-3 times per week. Even though I’ve always considered myself a terrible runner, a friend suggested I try a free program called Couch to 5K (C25K, for short) that helps non-runners start out slow and build up to comfortably running 5K in around 30 minutes. I was skeptical at first, but after finishing the 8-week program I can now run that distance with little difficulty. Talk about proving myself wrong!
To continue monitoring my progress, I’ve started using the free Lorna Jane exercise app that logs my runs. In case you’re considering adding running to your Cardio routine, a helpful tip I’ve learned is to try and run on the ball of your foot instead of striking the ground with your heel. This elongates the leg muscles and puts less pressure on your joints and knees.
When I feel like staying in but still want to get my heart pumping, I do a segment or two of Mary Helen Bower’s “Ballet Beautiful Cardio Fat Burn” DVD. It is very challenging! There will be more to come on her wonderful exercise program in my Toning post, but in the meantime it’s time to strap on your sneakers and get moving for clear skin!