As many of us know from woeful experience, our skin changes as the years advance, resulting in wrinkles, crows feet and sagging. But there might be some good news. Scientists recently discovered that exercise may actually stop skin from aging so severely.
When our skin looks “older,” what’s actually happening is a thickening of the outer layer of skin, called the stratum corneum. Composed mostly of dead skin cells and some collagen, this outer layer gets drier, flakier and denser with age. At the same time the layer underneath begins to thin, losing its elasticity, which translates into a saggier appearance.
But in the study, Canadian researchers found that subjects who frequently exercised had the opposite effect: they had a thinner outer layer and thicker inner layer, compared to those who did not frequently exercise. Those fitter subjects, who were all over age 40, had the skin of someone a decade younger.
Skin samples were tested from areas that were normally underneath clothing so that sun exposure wouldn’t be a factor.
Also, to remove any notion that genetics played a roll, the researchers set aside at random two groups of 65-year-olds and had one group exercise twice a week by jogging or cycling for 30 minutes for three months, while the other group did nothing. And wouldn’t you know it, the skin on the exercised group looked half their age. Exercise really is good for everything!