Our life choices can show on our face as much as genetics can and it's not just hangovers we're talking about. How active you are (or aren't) has a direct relationship with the skin. Want to know how to use this to your advantage? Read on.
Jess Schuring, celebrity trainer and co-founder of Heartcore Fitness told us "regular exercising has tremendous regenerating effects on our aging process and therefore on our skin as well." So, your skin can be fit?
"Studies prove that regardless of the age you start regular exercise, it will have almost immediate positive effects on our skin's thickness and elasticity." This could be the A-list secret to naturally aging well. It's not just Cameron Diaz' abs that are getting better with age.
Elasticity allows the skin to return back in place once stretched. This pliability is a key characteristic in young-looking skin, but like most things, it changes over time. "Skin starts to lose elasticity as we age; and strength training and toning muscles help to maintain the skins firmness," Schuring says. So which exercises should we be doing?
Strength training (including TRX, dynamic yoga, pilates, and barre classes) helps to perfect your posture and expand our range of movement and flexibility, which can keep your form looking youthful. On top of this, increased circulation from exercise means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your skin cells–which will radiate on your face. But you can also enhance elasticity by toning your facial muscles specifically.
"One way to keep our facial muscles fit is to work those muscles just the way we work the rest of our other body muscles–by using and engaging them," Schuring advises. "So pull faces, lift your eyebrows, sing, and most of all, laugh a lot!" Easy.
"Cardio training helps flush toxins from the body, feeding minerals and nutrients to the cells, subsequently helping with regeneration of skin and cells." But hold up, can't cardio hinder elasticity, in the same way that our boobs can sag from the breakdown of connective tissue from continuous high impact movement?
High impact training
"As much as exercising can help slow down the aging process of your skin, continuous high-impact training can have the reverse effects and promote sagging of the skin." Exactly. Look at a runner in slow motion and you can see how the skin is pulled upwards and pushed back down at the point of impact. "This constant and repetitive impact during running can break down the elasticity and connective tissue in the skin." Yikes. We can't wear a sports bra on our face, can we?
"I am referring to regular, long distance, pavement-based running and not your recreational jog around the park" Schuring explains. "That said, cardio training is essential in keeping our skin healthy and glowing"–so the sag factor doesn't excuse us from getting a sweat on.
She recommends jogging on more shock absorbing surfaces, swimming, cycling and HIIT training–"all great ways to keep your body and skin taut, toned, and healthy-looking as we age."
MORE WAYS TO PROMOTE ELASTICITY:
Dr Susan Mayou, an independent dermatologist, has these top tips (on top of doing exercise to improve muscle tone and support skin!).
1. Wear sunscreen to protect your body, face, and back of the hands. Over the years daily sun exposure causes premature aging, which can lead to a reduction in skin elasticity.
2. Keep hydrated. A lack of hydration contributes to the look and feel of skin.
3. Beauty sleep. Your skin goes into repair mode as you sleep, so a good night's rest (7 to 8 hours) is crucial for skin health.
4. Use a moisturizer in the morning and at nightto keep your skin supple.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.