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The 10 Best Exercises for Great Skin

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We all know that exercise helps our body and mind, but did you know it can be hugely beneficial to your skin, too? From Aerobics to Zumba, we’ve whittled down the world’s most skin-boosting activities to keep you fit this year.


Cardio workouts have a two-pronged approach to skin boosting - firstly, it can help stimulate your body to produce collagen, and secondly, boosts your production of human growth hormone. Both of these are key ingredients in maintaining a youthful appearance, stimulating the production of new skin cells. Sign us up.


By encouraging blood flow all around the body, cycling is a really efficient way of getting rid of toxins - which is a great way to get clearer skin. That said, it’s important to ensure you’re suitably protected against pollution with a serum, as air pollutants can swiftly rob your skin of oxygen, which will result in a dull, tired complexion.

HiiT Training

As with aerobics, HiiT has the cardio-workout’s boosting and rejuvenating effect on the skin, but with an added bonus. By combining the oxygen hit with toning exercises, you’ll see a reduction in sagging alongside the boost in collagen production. A real double-whammy.


Rosacea sufferers may have read this far and thought - wait! I can’t join in! Fear not. High intensity training can vastly increase the effects of rosacea by triggering flushing, redness and itchiness, but Pilates calming practises do not increase the heart rate but still give you the toning impact of other activities. If flushing affects your skin, pilates can help keep it clear and prevent any soreness.

Resistance Training

As we age, our skin starts to thin, hence the appearance of wrinkles and lines. By using your own bodyweight to challenge yourself, we stimulate the production of collagen which makes the skin appear thicker and more supple. If you have cellulite and wish to reduce its visibility, here’s one for you as it works all across the body.


If you’re looking to indulge in a bit of self care but only have time for either exercise or pampering, opt for a run (or a jog, we won’t tell). Building up a sweat whilst out running has a similar effect on the skin as getting a facial. When we sweat, our pores get swept clean, flushing out trapped dirt and oil. Remember to wash your face as soon as you get home and slather on a moisturiser while your pores are fresh.


Chlorine does have a drying effect on the skin, and for some people this won’t be a sensible option. However, the drying effect can actually be beneficial to some skin types - it helps soak up oil and sebum, two of the culprits in acne. Chlorine has antibacterial properties that can attack blemishes too, so if you’re having a breakout before a big event, opt for a quick dip in the pool.

Weight Training

Similar to resistance training, this helps boost elasticity in the skin as it tones the muscles underneath the skin’s surface. This gives you a much smoother, tauter appearance on the outside.


Here’s a true beauty hero. Research has found that stress can increase the effects of rosacea, acne and eczema, due to the stress hormone cortisol telling the cells to produce more oil - yoga can stop this process. The yoga philosophy aligns the body with the mind, and a tranquil state of mind means your body produces less cortisol, which means less oil. As well as this, it can also give you a natural quick anti-ageing boost. Positions such as the Downward Dog send blood to the face, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles.


It might have fallen out of favour in trendy fitness circles, but Zumba has great advantages for the skin. Boosting blood flow helps carry away waste products - including free radicals, key culprits in the ageing process. It’s also scientifically proven to positively affect your mood, and nobody ever looks better than with a smile on their face!

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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