Photographed By Jens Ingvarsson.
Scientists have long believed that exercise can have a powerful, regenerative effect on an animal's skin. How nice for our woodland friends who seem to have time for near-constant running. Well, a new study has found that regular cardio can help not only to prevent skin aging, but also reverse it in people over 40. Conducted by researchers at McMaster University, the study looked at 29 male and female subjects between the ages of 20 and 84; some were regular exercisers, while others had more sedentary lifestyles. Each subject's skin was sampled from the buttock area — a part that rarely sees the light of day, so observed differences could be pretty solidly attributed to exercise.
When they compared the samples, the McMaster team found that regardless of age, those who exercised regularly had thick dermis layers and healthier stratum corneum than those who did not. In layman's terms, the regular exercisers who were over the age of 40 had skin that was closer in composition to that of a 20 or 30 year old than to the non-exercisers their own age.
A follow-up study used a group of sedentary subjects over the age of 65 who reported similar diet habits. The researchers found that after three months of regular, vigorous exercise, their skin samples displayed marked shifts in composition. In fact, the subjects' skin more closely resembled that of a 20 to 40 year old than someone in their 60s.
Of course, more research is needed on exactly how much exercise (and what type) is most helpful in maintaining younger-looking skin. For now, we're planning on saving some money in the beauty aisle, content with the idea that our best anti-aging strategy might just be a good workout routine. Just one more reason to lace up those sneaks. (The New York Times)