Did you know that certain exercises are better for acne than others?
And that you can actually optimize your exercise routine to heal your skin faster and get toned in the process?
Let me be real with you.
Even though I was eating super clean, my skin never reached that “wow, I’m actually really clear” stage until I started exercising outside almost every day.
This happened for a lot of reasons.
Firstly, I was exposing my body to the healing elements of the sun and getting all of the vitamin D and other health benefits the sun offers (YES I wore sunscreen and a hat while outside).
Second, it helped to regulate my circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your internal clock that tells you when you’re tired and when you’re awake. For millions of years humans had a very strict circadian rhythm of waking up around sunrise and going to bed a couple hours after sunset. Now, that rhythm is f*&%ed because we go to bed at 2 in the morning every weekend.
There are plenty of helpful tools we can use to help our sleep such as f.lux for your computer, orange tinted glasses to help block blue light, blackout curtains and other things you can find on the resource page at clearnutrition.net/resources.
But even with all of these tools, nothing really helps to get our circadian rhythm back into balance like exercising in natural sunlight, especially if we do it in the morning.
The Many Benefits Of Exercising
- Lowered stress levels
- Feeling happier due to endorphins
- Accomplishing workout goals and increasing self-esteem
- Increasing circulation
- Pushing impurities out of pores
- Detoxing the body by moving the lymphatic system
- Helping digestion by keeping things moving
With all of the benefits to exercise, you might want to jump straight to gym. But hold up! There are ways you can maximize your exercise routine to help clear your skin the fastest.
Maximize Your Exercise Routine To Help Clear Your Skin The Fastest
We all need to move our bodies, but the typical gym routine of lifting heavy weights or doing stressful activities like CrossFit or bodybuilding are not conductive to healing the skin. The absolute best form of exercise for the skin is yoga. Note that some yoga places do hardcore heated yoga. This isn’t the type I’m talking about here. When exercising for health you should push yourself, but it shouldn’t mimic a spartan race.
When we do hard exercises like powerlifting, we activate the sympathetic nervous symptom. This activates our fight or flight response, raising cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline). When the sympathetic nervous system is activated and these hormones are released, it puts stress on the body. Those with a lot of acne are already under more stress than the average person. They also have less antioxidants to handle the oxidative damage that occurs when we’re under stress.
Opposite the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system is the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. This system is more calming and relaxing and is activated when we’re in a nice and peaceful state. When this is active, our bodies are capable of healing themselves. This is where we want to be. The parasympathetic nervous system is our “rest and digest” system and is the state that humans should be in the majority of the time.
The “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system was designed to help us run away from lions or opposing tribes when we were in the jungle before modern civilization. This was activated for only short bursts and then we quickly went back to our “rest and digest” parasympathetic state. In today’s environment we’re under massive amounts of stress, yet our lives aren’t in danger. The hormones and chemicals that get released just sit with us and contribute to disease s (unless we move our body).
The Best Way To Exercise For Health And The Skin
The solution is to get in exercise that allows us to move and tone our bodies while keeping us in the parasympathetic state, allowing for us to focus on our breathing and relaxation response. This is exactly what yoga does. I do yoga every week and I highly recommend it. The practice of yoga is calming and powerful at the same time. Yoga is detoxifying. Yoga increases our flexibility. It increases our awareness to our lives and it creates a sense of community if done with others. It’s easy. Anyone can do it. And it helps you to be more focused and concentrate on the task at hand while you are practicing.
I try to do yoga on the beach with other people from my studio whenever possible. This lets me get in the sunlight that I need. It fulfills my need to be out in nature. It brings in more fresh air, helps me focus on my breathing, and garners a sense of community. All while toning and shaping my body and increasing my flexibility. If you can find ways to kill many birds with one stone such as I have with my yoga practice, do it. Think of ways how you can leverage your time to be more efficient and get more done in less time. A non-exercise example of this would be to listen or watch informational or motivational videos, podcasts, or lectures while cleaning the kitchen. You are getting more than one thing done at a time without sacrificing either activity.
There are different styles of yoga depending on your preferences. There’s power vinyasa, organic vinyasa, mellow vinyasa, yin-yang, slow-flow, kundalini, gentle yoga, chair yoga, yin, eclectic hatha and more. Finding a yoga studio that you resonate with is really a blessing. I tried three different yoga studios before I ended up where I go now. Don’t be afraid to say no if there are better options or other options you want to try first. If I said yes to the first three yoga places, I wouldn’t have found the one I go to now, which is much more gentle and focuses on the meditative and breathing side of yoga as opposed to doing hardcore yoga in a heated room like the other studios did.
Other than “join a yoga studio,” I want to give you a few other tips on exercise and physical movement.
Great Tips On Exercising
- Stand as much as you can. If you are constantly on the computer, invest in a standing desk. I use the varidesk and love it. There’s more resources for great desks at the resource page.
- Walk. Walking is good for digestion and helps to clear the mind and allows for ideas to flow. This was the first form of human exercise and most traditional cultures walk around all day. Stand and walk as much as you can. If you can’t do yoga or other exercises outside, simply go for an hour long walk every day and your life will change.
- Do short bursts of intermittent exercises throughout the day. New data shows that even if we exercise for the recommended 30 minutes a day, it means nothing if we’re sitting for the rest of the day. So if we wake up, sit down for breakfast, sit on the toilet, sit in our car to work, sit at our desk at work, sit in our car on our way back from work, exercise for 30 minutes, then sit for dinner, and sit in front of the tv or computer, we’ve been sitting for over 95% of the day. Find ways to incorporate movement into your daily life. I have weights and a pull up bar in my office at my house and will randomly lift the weight, do pull ups and pushups throughout my working day. It’s also a good idea to take intermittent breaks from sitting every hour or 2 for about 15-30 minutes to keep your blood flowing and recharge throughout the day.
- Start doing yoga
- Walk every day
- Do your exercise outside whenever possible
- If it’s raining, still exercise, just do it inside
- Take walking breaks while sitting for long periods of time
Clearing the skin and being healthy requires a huge effort on your part to do everything you can. This means that to be healthy, you have to eat right, exercise, get enough rest, have the right attitude and mentality, and take the right supplements. For the best information available on clearing the skin naturally, sign up to the Clear Skin Nutrition newsletter. You’ll get a Clear Skin Guide with over 20 tips you can use immediately to help you clear your acne, naturally.