Exercise for Skin Health

Exercising is good for your health, body, and skin

Credits: Pixabay
Anna Pleet
Edited By:
Dermveda Content Team ,

We’ve all been told that exercise is good for us. On a basic level, we recognize that physical activity produces positive effects for our heart, our muscles and bones, and even for sleep and stress. But what about the effects exercise has on our skin? Research shows that regular exercise, particularly endurance exercise, helps decrease aging effects and combat chronic inflammation, thereby improving our skin health and reducing our risk of disease.[1]



The aging process causes our skin to lose its structural integrity and elasticity, making it more susceptible to disease and impairment. Research now identifies some of the messaging signals our skin cells send to the rest of our bodies during endurance exercise. 

According to researchers at McMaster University in Canada, interleukin-15 (IL-15), a cell messenger molecule, is released from our muscles during endurance exercise and signals the skin to decrease aging effects.[1] The authors suggest that having more IL-15 in our bodies, which is controlled by how much exercise we get, may play a key role in our skin’s ability to maintain its integrity. 


Reduced Inflammation

In another study, a group of Danish researchers assessed the effects that lifelong endurance exercise has on our connective tissue.[2] The researchers studied two groups of healthy older men and two groups of healthy younger men. In each age category, one group of men had performed lifelong endurance exercise, while the other group included untrained men. In all four groups, compounds called Advanced Glycation End-Products, otherwise known as AGE’s, were measured in both the skin and patellar tendons of the participants.[2] 

AGE’s are altered proteins and lipids that accumulate in our bodies as we get older and can cause inflammation. These AGE’s have been associated with many chronic and lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s.[3] 

The results of the study revealed that the exercised older men had 21% reduced AGE density in their connective tissue compared with the age-matched untrained men.[2] Furthermore, the researchers concluded that both the old and young athletes displayed thicker patellar tendons than their untrained counterparts, indicating that regular endurance exercise may decrease aging effects to our skin by diminishing the amount of AGE compound deposition.[2] This study helps explain how regular endurance exercise continued throughout one’s lifetime may help connective tissue maintain its durability and structure. 

Science shows us that endurance exercise helps maintain our skin’s structure and strength. Some ways our tissues do this is by sending molecular messages and reducing inflammatory deposits in our skin. If there aren’t enough reasons to exercise already, add one more to the list: to keep our skin healthy, young, and beautiful. 

Please check with a medical professional to ensure you are healthy to engage in exercise before starting any exercise routines. 

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1.    Crane JD ML, Lally JS, Ford RJ, Bujak AL, Brar IK, Kemp BE, Raha S, Steinberg GR, Tarnopolsky MA. Exercise-stimulated interleukin-15 is controlled by AMPK and regulates skin metabolism and aging. Aging Cell. 2015;14(4):625–634.

2.    Couppé C SR, Grosset JF, Kovanen V, Nielsen RH, Olsen MR, Larsen JO, Praet SF, Skovgaard D, Hansen M, Aagaard P, Kjaer M, Magnusson SP. Life-long endurance running is associated with reduced glycation and mechanical stress in connective tissue. Age. 2014;36(4):9665.

3.    Ott C JK, Haucke E, Santos AN, Grune T, Simm A. Role of advanced glycation end products in cellular signaling. Redox Biol. 2014;2:411–429.