Bonjour, Mes Amis!
This week, in celebration of our recent partnership with Equilibrium Fitness for Women (more on that in a bit!), let’s talk about another word that many of us (including me!) have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with: exercise.
When it comes to fitness and exercise, we’ve all heard that it’s the best possible routine to include in our day; even the more subtle health benefits of most forms of exercise are too numerous to list, not to mention it’s ability to make you look and feel younger and healthier. However, when it comes to actually setting down the newspaper and morning cup of coffee and doing these miraculous exercises….well, let’s just say that sometimes it’s hard to feel motivated!
Yoga, Pilates, Cardio and strength exercises all have obvious positive effects such as increased muscular and cardiovascular strength, increased flexibility, and so on. But, as an article from Psychology Today was smart to point out, “Exercise is good for every organ in the body. Since the skin is the largest organ it goes without saying that the skin benefits as well.”
So what are these skin benefits? For those of us who are now picturing how red and sweaty our skin looks fresh out of a workout session, they are not as obvious as one might hope, but they do exist! As opposed to being a quick-fix treatment to skin conditions–like a concealer covering up a patch of acne–fitness and exercise are a long-term investment because they work at treating the causes, not the symptoms, of unhealthy skin in several big ways. Let’s go down the list, oui?
1. Stress Relief
I plan on talking about the effects of stress on your skin in a lot more detail later on this week, but I want you to get a head start on a healthy stress reliever! Despite that mini-battle that goes on in your head before you abandon your morning paper and coffee for your running shoes, just getting yourself outside or to the gym can do wonders for built-up stress. According to a very helpful article in the Huffington Post, exercise decreases our stress-hormone (cortisol) levels, increases the production and circulation of endorphins, and forces the different systems within our bodies to work together a lot more closely than they would if we were still on the couch in our PJs; if exercise happens regularly, the body gets very good at communicating with itself, enabling you to handle stress more efficiently and effectively.
2. Get your Blood Pumping
Research is also showing that many signs of visible aging, such as puffiness or loose skin, are affected by circulation within the skin. This means that when our bodies are mostly sedentary, our skin doesn’t get proper circulation, but when we exercise and get our heart rates up, our circulation improves all around. Increased blood flow to the skin, which carries many helpful components (including oxygen!) can help tighten problem areas all over the body.
3. Now Sweat!
Sweating is also considered good for the skin by many, and not only because it helps to keep us cool as we exercise. Sweating is a great way to help your body purge toxins that aren’t good for us or our skin, and can help to reduce inflammation of the skin that causes acne, redness, and an overall ‘blah’ look on skin.
4. But don’t forget…
Ah, but here are a few VERY important reminders before you head for the gym!
- If exercising outside, always wear your sun protection! On ALL exposed parts of your skin!
- If exercising with equipment, always make sure to clean it before and after you use it (especially at the gym!). If not cleaned regularly enough, exercise equipment can hold quite a bit of sweat, dirt, and bacteria, even if it’s just you that uses it!
- Regardless of where you exercise, you need to cleanse your skin (not just your face, but your whole body!) both BEFORE and AFTER you exercise. Working out with make-up, lotion, or other things on your skin can clog your pores and cause acne, so make sure your skin care routine occurs a good long time before your trip to the gym, or after. After a workout, your body is covered in sweat and the toxins it carries, as well bacteria from potentially unclean equipment. Ew!
- Stay thirsty, mes amis! We lose water very quickly while working out, so it is important to drink a lot of water during and after exercise to keep your skin hydrated.
Now back to our exciting deal with Equilibrium Fitness! At your next appointment with us, you can pick up a free 7 day membership pass for Equilibrium, or let them know that A French Touch Salon referred you on your first visit. They offer a great variety of classes, personal training, weight management, and diet & nutrition advising to help keep you looking and feeling Body Beautiful!
Fitness and exercise might not put a smile on your face when your alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. to wake you up for a run, but it has been proven time and time again to not only have positive physiological effects on the body, but also contributes to that self-love idea I’ve been chattering on about! Working out is one of the best treats you can give yourself (no, sadly, it isn’t chocolate), because in addition to keeping your body and skin healthy, it can boost your confidence and self-esteem, make you look and feel younger, help you manage weight gain or loss, and refresh you by relieving stress. And nothing compliments healthy, beautiful skin like a healthy, beautiful smile!