Have you heard about the benefits of walking for skin?
You already know that daily walks are good for your health. But when it comes to your skin, you’re probably more focused on the latest anti-aging serum or smoothing foundation.
Exercise, however, creates benefits for the skin that topical products cannot. Walking, in particular, is one of the best types of exercise for the skin.
7 Benefits of Walking for Skin
We invite you to experiment. Try going out on a daily walk every day. Even twenty minutes is enough to start stacking up the benefits. Give it a try for one week and see what you discover!
1. Walking Gets Your Blood Pumping
Good circulation is key to healthy skin. When you walk, your heart and lungs pump more oxygen throughout the body. This improves blood circulation, helping to flush away toxins that can cause skin problems while pushing healthy nutrients out into the lower layers of the skin where the cells can use it to repair damage.
Benefits of Walking for Skin 2. Walking Can Change the Skin on the Cellular Level
When you exercise, the energy-producing engines in your cells rev up and create ATP—a chemical that fuels all cell functions. ATP is also needed to repair skin damage, create collagen, which strengthens skin, and produce hyaluronic acid, which helps keep skin moist.
As we get older, the cells don’t make as much ATP as they did when we were younger. That’s one of the reasons the skin starts to show signs of aging. But research shows that exercise can reverse these changes, which may help skin cells act more youthful and produce more of the elements the skin needs to keep up with daily repair.
3. Walking Can Help Prevent Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Improved circulation on its own can help fade the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But studies show that people who exercise regularly also tend to have skin that is thicker in the second layer (the dermis). A more robust dermis helps the skin retain its shape, delaying the formation of wrinkles.
Research also shows that exercise can increase levels of IL-15, an exercise-stimulated hormone important in the health of skin tissue. IL-5 is involved in the skin’s immune system too. Increasing levels during exercise can help wound healing and overall skin health.
Benefits of Walking for Skin 4. Daily Walks Can Help You Sleep
We talked in a previous post about how just one night of sleep deprivation can make you look older. In a study of 60 women between the ages of 30 and 49, researchers found that after five nights of poor sleep, participants had up to double the number of fine lines and wrinkles and up to three-quarters more brown spots.
It makes sense, then, that if you want youthful skin, you need to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Daily walks can help you do that.
In a 2019 study, researchers tested the relationship between physical activity and sleep. They had participants engage in a 4-week walking intervention where they were instructed to increase their daily steps by at least 2,000. (A control group received no such instruction.)
Averaged across the month, daily active minutes were positively related to sleep quality. Women, in particular, who took more steps and were more active reported sleeping better than those who were less active.
5. Exercise Helps Lower Stress
Just as a bad night’s sleep will result in older-looking skin, so too can stress destroy all your anti-aging efforts.
Scientists have found over the past couple of decades that the brain and the skin have a very close relationship with each other. That’s why a period of stress can result in acne, eczema or psoriasis flare-ups, or other problems like dryness.
When you’re under stress, your brain stimulates the release of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. These “fight or flight” hormones can negatively affect the skin, causing inflammation and other negative changes. High cortisol levels—particularly those associated with chronic stress—are associated with impaired skin barrier function and premature aging.
Walking can help. In a 2018 study, researchers found that just a 10-minute bout of brisk walking and meditation improved mood. The Mayo Clinic states that virtually any form of exercise can act as a stress reliever, and helps protect the body from the harmful effects of stress.
Walking in nature is even better. If you can get yourself to a park or a nearby area of trees, do it. In one study, scientists found that a 60-minute walk in the forest decreased stress activation in the brain, acting as a preventative measure against mental strain.
Benefits of Walking for Skin 6. Daily Walks Help Prevent Disease
Daily walks can help prevent disease, and that’s not only good for your body, but your skin as well.
In a previous post, we talked about how skin health and heart disease are related. Scientists have found that people with skin diseases like psoriasis and rosacea may be at a higher risk for heart disease.
The opposite is also true. If you suffer from heart disease, it can affect your circulation which can, in turn, accelerate aging in the skin. If you have a high level of overall body inflammation—which is common in today’s society (and related to a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle)—that translates into more skin inflammation too, and inflammation creates acne, redness, wrinkles, and more.
If your veins aren’t healthy, the skin in your legs can start to suffer, becoming dry and flaky and more susceptible to invasion by bacteria. If you have diabetes, you likely have dry, itchy skin as well.
So it makes sense that exercising regularly—which can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases—will help prevent any related skin problems too.
Note: If you have diabetic dry skin, or psoriasis, try our Body Repair Lotion. It helps soothe, relieve dryness and itchiness, calm inflammation, and repair the skin so it can recover. You’ll enjoy more radiant, comfortable skin.
7. Daily Walks Can Improve Your Breathing
Many of us are shallow breathers today, which isn’t good for the skin. Shallow breathing increases stress, whereas deep breathing promotes relaxation and improved blood circulation.
We have some breathing exercises for glowing skin in this post, but one of the best is simply going for a walk. While you’re walking, focus on relaxing your shoulders and take deep, belly breaths. These will help you shed stress more quickly while bringing in more oxygen to feed your skin what it needs to stay young.
Do you incorporate daily walks into your skincare regimen?
Featured image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio.