Working out isn’t all about dropping pounds or prepping for your next triathlon. Regular exercise also gives you a healthy, glowing look and an unmistakable va-va-voom that you just can’t get any other way.
Anyone who makes a habit of going to the gym, unfurling a yoga mat or hiking in the woods is privy to a secret known only to the physically active: The rewards of exercise extend far beyond slimming down or adding muscle tone. Dozens of subtle changes visibly revamp the body and the psyche in ways scientists are only beginning to understand.
Maybe your skin looks brighter, your step is springier or you’re more confident at work. Such small victories may go unnoticed by unobservant exercisers, but those on the lookout for these benefits will find them every bit as valid as gains measured by scales and calipers.
Scientists chalk up such fitness boons to a range of powerful physiological and biochemical processes triggered by regular exercise. “Every cell in the human body benefits from physical activity,” says Tim Church, MD, PhD, the director of preventative medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. And, he says, you feel tangible rewards right away. “Within an hour of exercising, you feel less anxious; that night you sleep better; and for 72 hours afterward your body processes blood sugar more efficiently.”
Need more incentive to lace up your sneakers? Here’s a peek into a few of the ways exercise can make you look and feel fantastic.
Genma Holmes, 43, was horrified when she broke out in adult acne three years ago. “I was 40 and felt like a hot mess because my face was dotted with pimples,” says the working mom from Nashville, Tenn. Then, last year, she started walking two miles a day and working out on an elliptical trainer three times a week. Sure, she expected to shape up, but she was shocked when her acne cleared. “Looking in a full-length mirror and seeing a slimmer me is great, but looking in a compact mirror and not seeing blackheads is even better,” she says.
Holmes’s clearer skin comes as no surprise to Audrey Kunin, MD, a dermatologist in Kansas City, Mo., and author of The DERMAdoctor Skinstruction Manual (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Working up a good sweat is the equivalent of getting a mini-facial, she says. “When the pores dilate, sweat expels trapped dirt and oil. Just be sure to wash your face afterward so the gunk doesn’t get sucked back into the pores.”
Breaking a sweat isn’t the only way exercise benefits the skin — it also reduces bodywide inflammation, helps regulate skin-significant hormones and prevents free-radical damage. When you exercise, the tiny arteries in your skin open up, allowing more blood to reach the skin’s surface and deliver nutrients that repair damage from the sun and environmental pollutants. These nutrients also rev up the skin’s collagen production, thwarting wrinkles. “As we age, fibroblasts [the collagen-producing cells in the skin] get lazier and fewer in number,” Kunin says. “But the nutrients delivered to the skin during exercise help fibroblasts work more efficiently, so your skin looks younger.”
For more ways exercise improves your skin, read “Exercise Makes Skin Healthier“.
Confident people radiate a certain physical appeal and charisma. A recent British study found that people who began a regular exercise program at their local gym felt better about their self-worth, their physical condition and their overall health compared with their peers who stayed home. The best part was that their self-worth crept up right away — even before they saw a significant change in their bodies.
“You don’t need to improve your fitness level to improve your self-perception of how fit you are,” says Adrian Taylor, PhD, an exercise researcher at the University of Exeter in England and the study’s lead investigator. And from there it’s only a short leap to enjoying healthier self-esteem, he adds. “Our self-worth is directly tied to our energy levels, our feelings of competence and our perceived attractiveness.” And nothing is more gorgeous than the self-assurance that comes from feeling good in your own skin.
Annie Appleby, 45, a yoga instructor and founder of YogaForce LLC in San Francisco, took up yoga as a means to relieve stress. But it wasn’t until she had a checkup a few years later that she saw the full effects of her practice. When the doctor measured her height, they both noticed she’d grown an inch and a half. “I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I’d always wanted to be taller; now I fit into my clothes better and feel more spacious in my body.”
No one has studied precisely why exercise makes you taller, but activities that stretch and strengthen muscles at the same time, like yoga or Pilates, can correct bad posture and therefore add height, says Dan Bradley, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at the Texas Back Institute in Denton, Texas. Hunching makes some muscle groups contract and others lengthen, he explains, which subtracts height. “If you actively work to bring muscles back into balance, your back will lengthen, your posture will improve and you can grow taller.”
People with swayed backs benefit most from core strengthening exercises, such as planks, farmer’s walks and bird dogs. For hunched shoulders, working on strengthening the upper back using resistance with bands, machines or free weights can help restore lost height. And, of course, exercise that improves posture tends to also make you look thinner, fitter and more confident.
Anxiety, fearfulness and uncertainty all drain your vitality and dampen your mood, which in turn tends to show on your face and in the way you carry yourself. Roughly 40 million Americans over 18 suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health — that’s nearly 20 percent of all adults — and for many of them, that anxiety strips both the smile from their face and the spring from their step. Exercise has been shown to alleviate most mild to moderate cases of anxiety, and can very quickly improve mood.
Jack Raglin, PhD, a sport psychologist at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., is only half-joking when he says, “Exercise is like taking a tranquilizer, but better because you get the side effect of improved health and fitness.” Studies out of Raglin’s lab suggest that as little as 15 minutes of exercise bestows a calm that can last for hours. As for what kind of exercise elicits the biggest response, he recommends either heart-thumping aerobic exercise, like running, cycling or swimming, or a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, such as weight training.
In one study, Raglin and his team recruited 16 athletes, tested their anxiety levels, then put them through 30 minutes of resistance training and another 30 minutes of cycling. Afterward, they rechecked the students’ stress levels and found that they had plummeted within 10 minutes of wrapping up the workout and continued to decline for the next hour.
For Dorothy Foltz-Gray, 61, a writer in Knoxville, Tenn., going for a bike ride at the end of a hectic workday delivers even faster results. “I can leave my desk anxious from a day of work, grab my bike and in a few minutes have a smile on my face as I glide along a bike path,” she says. “Suddenly I’m 12 years old again, grinning at all the other bikers who grin back because they are feeling the same burst of freedom.”
Plagued by dark circles? You’re not alone. As many as 60 million Americans wrestle with insomnia, according to a recent Harvard Medical School report. A slew of studies show exercise can elicit longer, more restful sleep. Why? Well, an intense workout may leave you more hungry for shuteye recovery time, but there’s more to it than that. Shawn Talbott, PhD, nutritional biochemist and author of The Metabolic Method (Current Book, 2008), explains that exercise sharpens the body’s sensitivity to the stress hormone cortisol, which can enhance sleep. Sleeping better leaves you looking fresh and healthy.
Here’s how it works: When your boss yells at you, the body spews cortisol to help muscles either duke it out or run like the wind. But, instead, if you sit and seethe at your desk, the cortisol stays in the bloodstream, like a racecar circling the track in a speedway. If the stress is chronic, the presence of cortisol 24/7 blunts the body’s cellular receptors, muting the hormone’s arousal call. That lack of sensitivity causes the adrenal glands to make more, just to get the body’s attention. “It’s like your body turns the volume up full-blast to get the message across,” says Talbott.
As a result, the body’s natural cortisol rhythms (high in the morning, low in the evening) “flatten out,” he explains, which can leave you mentally wound up at night — and carrying excess baggage under your eyes the next day.
Exercise is essentially a release valve for cortisol, helping you sleep more soundly and greet the day looking more refreshed.
Can glutathione pills whiten your skin? Does it work?
The answer is….it does work for some people but not all. I’m honestly not a fan of glutathione pills because when I took it before, it didn’t work for me. I gave it a fair amount of time (about 4 months) and it didn’t change my skin tone at all. I got better results using topical whitening products (soap, lotion, cream) and when I took this kind whitening supplement (read about it here) everyday. I can honestly say that it whitened my skin about two shades.
A little information about glutathione:
I know that most of you probably know that glutathione is a tripeptide, which means it contains three amino acids namely L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and L-glycine. I’m not going to write a lot about glutathione’s history because I am more focused on its effect in skin whitening.
For those of you who still wants to take glutathione pills, here’s what do you need to look for before buying it:
You have to look for the “reduced” glutathione form. The label or the ingredients panel should say “L-Glutathione Reduced.” Why do you need the “reduced” form? Because “reduced” means that this is the kind of glutathione that does not oxidize quickly after taking it. Oxidize or oxidation means that it loses its effectiveness after taking or using it. It’s important to keep in mind that glutathione does oxidize after taking it orally. But when you buy the “reduced” form, you’re basically taking the kind of pills that have a much better effect because it doesn’t lose its effectivness right away after hitting your bloodstream unlike the regular form of glutathione.
What can you do to see the whitening results a lot faster:
Take your glutathione pills with a high dose of Vitamin C. Since glutathione oxidizes, you need to take a “back up” supplement and your best choice is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a very good antioxidant and has a skin brightening effect as well. So you’re basically getting skin whitening plus skin brightening at the same time! You’re going to have a whiter and glowing skin just like a celeb in no time!
How much glutathione and Vitamin C should you take:
You have to take a minimum of 500 mg of glutathione per day to see skin whitening effect, however, I would take twice this amount of more due to the fact that it has the tendency to oxidize.
For example, if you’re taking 1000 mg of glutathione, you need to take twice the amount of Vitamin C. This means that if you’re taking 1000 mg of glutathione, then you must take 2000 mg of Vitamin C to guarantee skin whitening. I know it sounds a lot but don’t worry – this isn’t toxic. Why? Because Vitamin C and glutathione are both water soluble. There are no studies that shows Vitamin C or glutathione overdose.
(Friendly reminder: this is not a medical advice. Please contact your physician first before taking any kind of supplements.)
What brand of glutathione and Vitamin C should you buy:
I would suggest to stick with USA-made brand of glutathione pills. Why? Because if the glutathione supplement is made in the US, this means that if the product claims to have 500mg of glutathione, then this is more than likely 100% correct. The USFDA requires all manufacturers to indicate the exact amount of ingredients per capsule. There is no way to get around this policy in the States.
Also, when shopping for glutathione pills, please make sure that you’re getting 1 serving per capsule of at least 500 mg of Reduced L-Glutathione. I’ve seen many companies who promote that their glutathione pills have 800 mg of glutathione in the front of their labels but it turns out that this is actually for 2 servings. This means that you’re only getting 400 mg of glutathione per capsule – don’t be fooled by this marketing tactic.
There are a lot of glutathione supplement brands that are being marketed both online and in store and I’m still searching for the best brand of glutathione until now. I will update you guys when I find the right one.
How long before you see skin whitening results after taking glutathione and Vitamin C pills:
This really depends on your body. I can’t tell you when you’re going to see results because everyone is different. One thing though – please be diligent. You have to keep on taking the pills everyday, otherwise, you’re not going to see any results at all. There are reports that the average time before seeing results is about 12-16 weeks (3-4 months) of continuous use – but again, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some of you will probably see the results faster and some needs to take it for several months before seeing any results.
Is there an alternative to glutathione in terms or whitening the skin?
Absolutely. Here’s the article.
Your feet are on display this time of year, but it’s hard to keep them looking their best when the weather’s warm: Exposure to the sun and hot surfaces like sand and concrete can leave your poor dogs dry and rough. Here’s how to protect them from the elements so they stay picture-perfect for the entire season (because you never know when you’ll want to Instagram your pedi).
Exfoliate At Least Once A Week
“This will help you get rid of surface dry skin cells, making them look and feel smoother,” says Kristen Murphy, Spa Manager at the Woodmark Hotel’s Still Spa. Plus, your moisturizer will be more effective when you slough off flaky skin first. Some great budget foot scrubs to try include Tree Hut’s Peppermint & Sugar Exfoliating Foot Scrub ($4.88, walmart.com) or Kiss My Face Peppermint Foot Scrub ($8.95, kissmyface.com). For dryer skin, opt for a sugar scrub instead of a salt-based scrub; although salt detoxifies and draws out impurities, it can also be dehydrating.
Avoid Soaking Feet
Contrary to what you might think, soaking can further dehydrate already-dry feet, says Murphy. So instead of soaking your tootsies, apply a sugar scrub directly onto dry skin, and wipe it off with a moistened towel.
Keep a Pumice Stone in Your Shower
Celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi, founder of the JINsoon Nail Lacquer line and Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spas in New York City, grew up in a small village in South Korea where foot-care products weren’t available. “We would go to the river and find a textured stone, and we would scrub our callouses and feet with the stone,” she says. “This really worked.” Of course, you don’t have to search for your own stone since commercially available pumice stones are available. Use one daily or once every other day; just make sure to apply less pressure to soft skin and more to callouses when giving your feet a scrub-down.
Do Some Heavy-Duty Moisturizing
Your heels are prone to over-use—and as a result, they tend to dry out more easily than the rest of your foot, says Choi. The heel is also protected by thicker skin, which means that it’s less penetrable and it’ll take a little more effort to lock moisture in. Apply a lotion or oil immediately after you shower to retain the moisture your feet have already soaked up. For even better results, reapply a moisturizer right before bed. Borghese Piedi Vitale Therapeutic Foot Crème ($21.50, borghese.com) or Neutrogena Foot Cream ($4.99, neutrogena.com) are both good bets.
Don’t Forget to Apply Sunscreen
Lots of people neglect to apply a good SPF to their feet, but don’t make this big mistake. Not only does the skin on your tootsies need protection, but nails are made of protein and are therefore as vulnerable as your skin. “Cuticles serve a purpose,” says Barbara Hershfelt, director of sales and marketing for Cutex. “They seal in moisture and protect new nail growth as it emerges from the base of the nail.” Sun, wind, and sand can dry cuticles and nail folds (the areas of skin that frame your nails), which is bad for nail growth. You can avoid these issues by being diligent with your sunscreen routine.
Eat Foot-Friendly Foods
Believe it or not, some foods can cause your feet to swell and become bloated. Foods high in salt are the most likely culprits, says Carolyn Dean, M.D., a member of the medical advisory board for the nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association. To keep your feet looking great, avoid packaged foods, which are heavily salted. Sugars can also cause foot puffiness, so you’ll want to minimize your intake of that, too, says Dean.
Let Toes Breathe
Since nails are a living part of your anatomy, they need a break to “breathe” from time to time so they can continue healthy growth patterns and rid themselves of chemical residue, says Choi, who recommends a break from nail polish about once a month for a few days to a week. This can help prevent discoloration—particularly if you like to use dark-colored nail polishes—and keep your pedi looking pretty.
Get your beauty sleep! The ZZZs you catch every night can have a profound impact on your skin health. Here’s how.
A good night’s sleep can mean good skin health because when you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated levels of cortisol can lead to increased stress and inflammation in the body, hurting your skin’s quality.
But the relationship between skin health and lack of quality sleep can be a vicious cycle, especially with conditions like atopic dermatitis or eczema, which can lead to scratching even through the night, recent research published in the journal Clinics in Dermatology showed.
“Poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones in the body that increase the severity of inflammatory skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis,” explains Jessica Krant, MD, MPH, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and founder of Art of Dermatology in New York. This can result in increased itching, which can disrupt sleep. As the vicious cycle continues, skin conditions and sleep quality can increasingly worsen together. In contrast, skin conditions and sleep quality can also improve together. Getting a good night’s sleep will help to clear up skin, which allows sleep to improve and, in turn, will improve skin health.”
Need more convincing? Here are six reasons why not getting enough sleep detracts from skin health and your health in general:
Here are tips from Krant for getting good sleep and better skin health:
Getting your beauty sleep isn’t an old cliché — it’s a must for having skin that glows.