A 2017 survey of 2,000 American men and women found that they spend, on average, USD$ 2,928 and USD$ 3,756, respectively, on looking beautiful every year. They would spend a total of around USD$ 200,000 on makeup, haircuts, moisturizers, and anti-aging products in their entire lives. They spend enough money to pay for roughly four years at Harvard. Let that sink in for a bit.
To set the record straight, using beauty products isn’t entirely wrong. If you want to look your best for a cocktail party or night out with friends, you can pop open that blush on. But, what about those who can barely afford a jar of anti-aging cream? They want to look their best, too.
Luckily, there’s a cost-effective way of achieving that: fitness. From a balanced diet to several laps around the block, proper fitness can produce the same results as expensive makeup in the market. As one quote goes: “Train like a beast, look like a beauty.”
Here’s a closer look into how staying fit can also mean staying beautiful:
Exercise is only part of the equation for achieving a good appearance. After a long day of crunches and push-ups, your body will need to replenish its stores and repair any wear and tear that exercise has caused. Load up your post-workout meal with food that promotes healthy skin, starting with a glass of water.
Your body loses a fair amount of water through sweat, so drinking enough water will replenish its supply. And, as a 2007 study shows, drinking at least two liters of water per day for a month can result in thicker and denser skin. Well-hydrated skin will be less prone to cracking, as well as those unsightly inflammations and blemishes.
As for your plate, dietitians and nutrition experts recommend meals rich in the following:
- Vitamin A – It’s not just good for your eyes. Retinoids and carotenoids in vitamin A help produce new skin cells, retaining the skin’s overall fullness. Several foods rich in vitamin A include salmon, eggs, dairy products, carrots, and leafy green veggies.
- Antioxidants – Your skin is continually exposed to harsh elements. Antioxidants help eject free radicals that can damage skin cells’ membranes and put their DNA at significant risk of cancerous mutations. Antioxidant-rich foods include berries and plums.
- Fatty acids – These nutrients, primarily omega-3 and omega-6, reinforce cell membranes to help retain moisture better. Significant sources of fatty acids include fish, walnuts, and healthy oils prepared through cold-pressing or expeller.
- Selenium – Studies show that skin with high selenium content has shown reduced damage from cancer-causing oxidation (i.e., sunburns). Selenium-rich foods include whole wheat bread, cereals, turkey, and Brazil nuts.
Some of these nutrients and more can also come from vitamin supplements from fitness coaching programs, like 4 Legs Fitness. With a proper exercise regimen, getting the right amount of essential vitamins and minerals will lead to overall beauty and wellness.
Increasing Blood Flow
At the heart of this beautifying tip is blood circulation. Your body relies on trillions of blood cells to bring oxygen and nutrients to every part of the body, including your skin. These same cells also ferry waste products to be expelled out of your body, one way or another. In normal conditions, the blood flows between 3 and 4 mph, about the same as walking.
When you exercise, your body works a little harder to sustain itself. Its oxygen and nutrient needs increase to work your muscles, but so does the waste it generates. In turn, the heart needs to pump blood faster to prevent waste products from building up in the body and causing harm. Think of it as stepping on the gas—the car will gain more speed but burn more fuel.
For the record, getting rid of waste isn’t the skin’s job—it’s the liver’s. But, the skin has its way of expelling waste in the form of sweat. The increased blood flow forces skin pores to open up more, making you sweat a lot. Any dirt and oil on your skin gets flushed out, lessening your likelihood of developing acne or blackheads.
Your hair also benefits from increased blood flow. Supplying hair follicles in the scalp with oxygen and nutrients helps promote hair growth and mitigate hair loss. It’s good news for anyone who treats their hair as it were their life.
Exercising With Skin Disease
While extra precautions may be necessary, suffering from skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, shouldn’t hamper your exercise routine. If anything, they’re all the more reason to hit the treadmill or run a few laps.
Eczema is a sign of an overreactive immune system. To date, scientists are still unsure as to the root cause, but they believe that stress hormones tend to provoke the sebaceous glands in the skin. Exercise can reduce stress, which can improve stress-induced conditions, with eczema being one example.
However, people with eczema and psoriasis may experience flare-ups following an intense physical activity, which is where certain beauty products come in. Doctors suggest applying moisturizers on eczema areas to mitigate the effect. If possible, exercise in a cool space to reduce perspiration.
Avoid going out during the hottest part of the day, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The scorching heat is an excellent way to get skin cancer, let alone sunburns. If it’s unavoidable, plan your jogging route to include places with adequate shade, like parks. You can also apply sunscreen before going out, but its effect will start wearing off once you start sweating.
Finally, take a nice shower afterward to remove anything that can make your skin condition worse. After the bath, apply some moisturizer to keep your skin smooth.
So, to answer the question, beauty and fitness go together. Proper diet and exercise can provide you the best look you can ever achieve. Whether or not you’re suffering from a skin condition, you’ll need this approach if you want to save on beauty products, not to mention if you plan to get into a good college or university.