We’re not big fans of going to the gym (we’d rather go to the crêperie across from it) but we know that for the benefit of all involved – we mean our body, mind and skin – we have to get physical. So how does sport really affect our skin?  We took three of the most popular physical workouts that people often pass off as exercise and deciphered why you should indulge in them and what you should be looking out for…

3 most popular exercises for skin swimming 430x550

Swimming
Everyone’s favourite water sport, swimming, one of the only physical activities that requires you to use all the muscles in your body, is said to make for a great cardio routine for people of all ages. It tones your body, builds serious muscle strength and endurance and contributes immensely to strengthening your heart and lungs.

Why you should swim: Since your body works doubly hard in the water, your heart goes into overdrive pumping blood and oxygen to all your organs, getting rid of toxins and giving your skin a healthy flush. In addition, the chlorine in the pool purifies the water molecules within your skin and banishes acne causing bacteria significantly reducing your chances of zits.

What you should look out for: Too much chlorine is known to wreck both skin and hair. It can sap the oil from the surface of the dermis and leave it looking dull, itchy and dry. To remedy this, cleanse and moisturise your skin as soon as you’re out of the pool and spritz on a protective hair product before you go for a swim.

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Running
There are a ton of myths surrounding our most convenient physical sport – running. Some say you can do it at any age, some say it’s the perfect antidote to health issues of any kind, the fastest road to recovery and other loyalists even go as far as to insist that the benefits offered by the endorphins released after a good run can do more than just make you feel good.

Why you should run: Most regular runners say that there’s nothing that can make you feel more “free” than a good, long run. Among its many benefits running increases stamina, increases flexibility, boosts your immune system and strengthens your bones. It also helps you sweat and therefore get rid of your body’s toxins in the most natural way resulting in healthy looking skin.

What you should look out for: Unless you’re running on a treadmill at the gym (most “real” runners look down on this) you should look out for sun damage. If you’re running multiple times a week to reap the benefits, make sure you’re doing it in the evening or using adequate sun protection. The other skin issue that most runners encounter is sweat triggered acne that can be dealt with by adopting a thorough cleansing, toning and moisturising routine as soon as you’re done with your workout.

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Yoga
Seeing as how yoga originated in India, it is indeed quite strange that it had to become popular in the West for us to begin practicing it again. Today, given our sedentary lifestyles most people who practice yoga prefer to intersperse it with other cardio workouts such as Crossfit, Zumba or kickboxing.

Why you should do yoga: Unlike other extremely physical routines, yoga massages your internal organs to improve blood circulation and digestion. Different asanas increase the blood flow to different parts of your body while certain poses open up your chest and improve the digestive functions that aide in cleansing the body to lend your skin that internal, healthy glow. Yoga works on the premise that when you’re healthy internally, it’ll reflect externally.

What you should look out for: Most people who practice yoga will tell you that no matter how often in a day you stretch, the benefits of yoga take long to come to fruition. There’s also always the issue of overestimating or underestimating one’s flexibility, which can result in some nasty surprises. Plus, as the rule goes, what yoga will break, yoga will fix, which means if holding a certain asana too long has given you a spasm, you can rest for a bit, yes, but practicing another asana to offer yourself some relief is usually the recommended way of doing things.