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Exercise is good for you. We all know that keeping our bodies moving is important to staying fit and healthy. New research shows that exercise may also contribute to younger looking skin.

An article in The New York Times blog, [Link Removed] , discusses research which demonstrates exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, but that it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life. As we get older, our skin changes. After about age 40, the skin's outermost protective layer (stratum corneum) begins to thicken. Composed mainly of dead skin cells and some collagen, this layer gets drier, flakier and denser. Because it's the layer that's visible, skin can appear lacklustre and dull. As the stratum corneum thickens, the dermis (the layer beneath the stratum corneum and epidermis) starts to thin. A loss of skin cells and elasticity results in skin looking more translucent and saggier. These changes occur as time passes and are not dependent on sun exposure, which is one of the biggest contributors to aging skin.

The research is based on initial studies that involved mice, which demonstrated that steady exercise could stave off or even reverse the signs of early aging. The possibility that this may apply to humans as well, was tested in volunteers between the ages of 20 and 84. Researchers divided the volunteers by their exercise habits. What they discovered was that after age 40, those men and women who exercised more frequently had markedly healthier and thinner stratum corneums and thicker dermis layers in their skin. Their skin displayed characteristics more in keeping with 20 and 30 year olds, even if they were older than 65. These results were replicated when they took sedentary volunteers and had them embark upon an exercise program – their skin composition resembled that of a much younger person, compared to when they started.

It's not quite clear how exercise changes skin composition and there is no evidence that it can reverse wrinkles or sun damage. It does, however, reinforce the idea that exercise does the body good.

Read the full article [Link Removed] .

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
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