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Do you want youthful, wrinkle-free skin? It might be time to start weight training, according to new research.

It never ceases to amaze me the mantras that emerge from research on the benefits of regular physical exercise . To read about what I offer to my body, through a habit I acquired in order to be able to walk without a cane, when – at the age of 27 – a vertebra started to “hit” the nerve in my left leg.

I would tell you to make coffee and tell you how bad my musculoskeletal system is and how good gymnastics has done me , but I have a very good development to report.

In addition to mental upliftment and remodeling of the muscles, heart, lungs, liver and other organs, as a recent study informs, exercise also “resurrects” the largest organ of the human body: the skin .

Exercise to rejuvenate your skin

The findings, published in Scientific Reports . report that both aerobic exercise and weight training can alter gene expression and improve the underlying health of facial skin cells and tissues.

In fact, resistance training appeared to produce benefits beyond those of endurance training .

The findings “add to the body of evidence that any type of exercise is beneficial for skin health ,” Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, professor, MD, and director of the Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Clinic at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, told The Washington Post . .


Can resistance exercise reduce wrinkles?



The researchers noticed that after the participants started exercising, their skin became “more youthful at the cellular level ,” said study supervisor Satoshi Fujita , an exercise scientist at Resuming University in Kyoto, Japan .

Fujita focused on the common perception that exercise, especially that which involves bouncing (eg running) can stretch and damage the structure and appearance of the skin. The most pronounced effects were seen when people lifted weights .

The known benefits of endurance exercise

A 2015 study, which included participants some of whom were active while others were inactive, focused on biopriming the skin on the buttocks (an area that doesn’t see much sun and therefore shows the skin’s current internal state, without the damage caused by exposure to solar radiation).


Weight lifting exercise



It appeared that the skin of active people showed a thinner stratum corneum (see the outer layer of the skin) and a thicker dermis (see deeper, structural layer) , compared to the skin of inactive people of the same age. Their skin cells also had more and healthier mitochondria , which are the cells’ energy centers. All the differences recorded are related to younger skin.

When the lead researcher (it was Tarnopolsky) and his colleagues asked elderly men and women to jog or cycle a few times a week for three months, it appeared that the outer layer of skin on their buttocks became thinner. At the same time, the inner layer grew, while skin cells added mitochondria. In fact, their skin became more youthful.

The exploration of what burdens the skin

In the recent research, Fujita – who lifts weights in combination with aerobic training – wondered whether resistance exercises might have similar or perhaps superior benefits to the internal health of the skin.

He and his colleagues gathered 56 middle-aged women, followers of a sedentary lifestyle, and evaluated the elasticity, thickness and structure of the dermal layers on their facial skin, using ultrasound and other “tools”.

Then they had half the women start cycling for 30 minutes, twice a week. The rest started lifting weights, also for about 30 minutes, twice a week. After 16 weeks, the researchers repeated all the tests.

They saw that the women who cycled improved their fitness and those who lifted weights got stronger. That is, the exercise had changed them. Then it was found that their skin had also changed . It had improved elasticity (it was less loose), while the genes involved in making the skin’s collagen were busier. These are skin rejuvenating properties.


skin exercise



However, only resistance training increased epidermal thickness . This is thought to have to do with increasing the activity of several specialized genes, which pump out proteins designed to build and strengthen connective tissue. Fujita admitted he’s not sure why the endurance exercise didn’t have the same effect.

Is exercise the new ‘anti-wrinkle’ for skin?

The scientists clarified that they did not evaluate the appearance of women’s skin, although ” in theory these changes may reduce wrinkles, improve appearance and help people look younger ,” Fujita said.

Taken together, the findings “suggest that the skin is strongly influenced not only by external factors – such as UV radiation and dryness – but also by internal factors – such as gene expression and inflammation. This data may change as we practice.”

It goes without saying that this publication also pointed out that further research is needed, in a larger and more multidimensional sample.

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