POSTED: 12 Mar 2016


“You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.” 
― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Now that we are into March, it’s time to take stock of new year’s resolutions. A common new year’s resolution is to exercise more and, while there are plenty of ways to exercise, many will include running in their exercise regime. Everyone knows that running is an excellent way to burn calories, improve heart health and muscle strength and beat stress. Fewer, however, know of the benefits to your complexion as well as your waistline. At City Skin Clinic we are passionate about skin and in this blog post we discuss the benefits of moderate running to skin health, dispel some myths about running and skin and share some tips as to how to fit running into your busy schedule.

Benefits of exercise to skin health

1. Instant glow and radiant skin

Exercise increases oxygen and nutrient delivery to our skin which results in boosted circulation and an immediate post-workout glow. A recent study also found that prolonged exercise stimulates collagen and elastin production. Collagen and elastin are two of the proteins that help skin to stay young and plump looking.

2. Better sleep

The connection between exercise and better sleep is well documented. Your skin repairs itself while you sleep leading to a plethora of benefits to the appearance and health of your skin. We recommend exercising at least three hours before you go to bed so as not to disrupt healthy sleeping patterns and, therefore, a morning or after-work jog can be the best thing for a good night’s sleep and healthier, smoother and more attractive skin.

3. Less stress and anxiety

Anxiety and stress can show up on your face in the form of fine lines, redness and dry, flaky skin. Stress and anxiety can also prevent you from having good quality sleep. Luckily exercise has been shown to alleviate most mild to moderate cases of anxiety, and can very quickly improve your looks. Because our body’s natural reaction to stress is fight or flight, it is not surprising that running is a great way to manage stress!

Myths about running and skin health

One of the myths surrounding running is that it leads to sagging skin. Drooping skin is caused by a loss of collagen, which gives skin its elasticity, and by the loss of facial fat, which keeps skin taught over the facial muscles. While your body bounces up and down during a run, experts think that this is highly unlikely to damage collagen.

The more likely cause of this myth is that running outdoors exposes the runner to more UV rays from the sun. UV rays break collagen down over time and can lead to sagging skin. For this reason we recommend including only moderate running within your exercise regime to reduce the time spent exposed to UV rays and to slather on suncream with a high SPF rating. Alternatively, you can restrict your running sessions to the treadmill.

3 easy ways you can fit running into your busy schedule

If you have read this far, you may by now be feeling motivated to lace up your running shoes and head out for a jog in your local park! Sticking with your exercise regime, however, is often the more difficult part, particularly during busy periods in the office and in your personal life. In our experience the best way to stick with your running plan is to incorporate it into your daily commute. Swapping the tube or bus for the open air will mean that you arrive at work feeling more alert, less stressed and looking great!  Here are our tips to make running to work part of you daily commute:

  1. Think creatively about possible routes from the home to the office: There are many factors involved in planning your route from home into the office: you may not want to run alongside a busy road (indeed, we recommend that you avoid polluted areas) or in areas that are crowded with pedestrians; you may prefer to add in some legs running in parks even if this is not the most direct route to the office; you may live far from the centre of London and will need to take a tube or train part of the way and then run the final leg to the office. Our advice is to think creatively about routes that best achieve your goals and preferences. For example, if you work in Canary Wharf, you may be able to take advantage of the Thames walkway by taking a tube or overground train to one of Monument, Bank or Shadwell stations and then running along the Thames walkway for the final few miles.

  2. Avoid polluted areas: Pollution is bad for your health and your skin. Get the London pollution app and avoid areas of high pollution.

  3. Plan ahead to avoid logistical problems: A lot of people like the idea of running to work but find the logistics of changing from their running gear into business attire in the office to be difficult. Obviously this is much easier if your office provides shower facilities. If your office does not provide these, then an alternative would be to join a gym near your office that does. Runners have different systems for transporting business attire to the office; some, for example, make a weekly trip into the office carrying all of their work clothes for that week while others pack the day’s work clothes into their backpack. The trick is to find the solution that works for you

We hope that this blog post will help you to improve your skin health and appearance by incorporating running into your exercise regime and possibly your daily commute. Remember to drink plenty of water and eat foods with slow release carbohydrates to maintain the energy levels you need through out the day. Check out the rest of our blog for the latest skin care and beauty advise. Also explore our website for the full range of advanced skin and bespoke anti-ageing treatments we provide at City Skin Clinic.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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