Exercise: The Miracle “Drug” for Graceful Aging

What if you could do just one thing to boost your mood and energy, give you glowing skin and a slimmer body, and prevent chronic diseases? Well, there is … It’s exercise!

Exercise has many benefits that help us look and feel our best at any age.

The Benefits of Exercise

When it comes to health, it’s rare for doctors, researchers, and other health experts to reach consensus. Except when it comes to exercise. Experts agree that we need at least 150 minutes each week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. In addition, we should engage in strength training exercises, which can include weight lifting but may be as simple as incorporating weight-bearing aerobic activity into your exercise regimen, such as hiking, walking, and dancing.

Research proves that regular exercise:

  1. Helps weight/fat loss
  2. Elevates energy and endurance
  3. Supports healthy skin and collagen production
  4. Boosts mood and memory
  5. Improves sleep (if you don’t exercise close to bedtime)
  6. Enhances sex drive
  7. Balances cortisol (our stress hormone)
  8. Strengthens bones and muscles (which helps prevent pain, injuries, and certain diseases)
  9. Decreases risk for a number of chronic conditions such as heart disease, certain types of cancers, depression, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and arthritis
  10. Increases longevity

All of these benefits become even more important as we age. While some exercise perks are protective and help improve our quality of life (endurance, performance, memory, etc.), other advantages help us age beautifully.

How Does Exercise Help Your Skin?

When it comes to your skin, exercise increases blood flow, which provides nourishment for skin cells. Good circulation floods your cells with nutrients and removes free radicals and toxins, helping you get that healthy glow.

Also, regular moderate exercise – around 30 minutes each day – keeps cortisol (a stress hormone) balanced. This is particularly important since elevated cortisol can worsen chronic skin conditions, such as acne and eczema, and increases the breakdown of collagen (which speeds wrinkles and sagging skin).

To enjoy the greatest benefits of exercise, it’s important to balance cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching.

  • Cardiovascular exercise elevates our heart rate to effectively improve circulation, burn calories, drop fat, and enhance cardiovascular function.
  • Strength training strengthens our muscles to improve our body composition and our day-to-day physical function and stability.
  • Stretching is important to keep us flexible and prevent injuries.

Balanced exercise offers all the benefits listed above and helps prevent many debilitating chronic diseases associated with aging, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Exercise Responsibly

Choose exercises that fit your current state of health. If you do not currently have an exercise routine, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to determine the best workout for your unique needs. This is especially important if you are pregnant or have any injuries or chronic health conditions that may limit your exercise ability.

Are you concerned about the cost of implementing an exercise program? This site offers great budget-friendly exercise advice.

Whatever exercise you choose, find something that you enjoy and can easily fit into your day. Invest in your health, get moving, and enjoy the rewards: graceful aging and glowing skin.

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Reader Interactions

  1. Dear Dr Cates,

    I am interested in number 3 – supports healthy skin and collagen production. I have been put off going running by a fear of it creating the ‘runner’s face’ and causing my skin to sag and also my breasts to sag more. Can you say more about this please?


    • Kate, exercise increases circulation and lymph flow which helps our skin. I don’t think you should be afraid of running but if you are, then there are many other exercises such as hiking, biking and swimming that are more low-impact kinds. You can also support collagen production by consuming vitamin C rich foods such as broccoli and collagen rich foods such as bone broth or this supplement combo –

    • As someone with adult acne who also loves to jog, I have never had a problem with “runner’s face” as you call it. If anything, I find it does the opposite so long as you keep the following in mind.

      1) Eat a very small something, like a few crackers about 20 minutes before jogging to break the fast you’ve had from sleeping. It helps to keep your body from thinking the food you consume after needs to be sent to the fat factory as we are feast or famine creatures.

      2) Using a beeswax based lip chap will help keep the moisture locked in and keep you from the chapped lips that you can get faster when you jog.

      3) Drink a lot of water throughout your day to stay hydrated.

      4) Wear a high impact sports bra (it doesn’t have to be expensive, either, so long as it’s super supportive). 5) Don’t run forever. There is such a thing as too much exercise. Personally, I like to do about 1.5 miles as I don’t get bored and I’m not heading for a burnout (I’ve done that before).

      5) Pay attention to the time of day. It’s just like going out in the summer: there are times when you will be prone to getting too much sun and times when you can go out without the sun searing you immediately. Early morning and early morning are your best times.

      6) When you get home, have a nice fiber-packed and nutritious breakfast. Personally, I go all in for smoothies because they are quick and easy (plus I can sneak in the greens I’m not big on and still get all the nutrients my body needs from them for a day).

      7) Wash your face and use a heavier moisturizer to ensure your skin stays supple.

      This is my routine and I don’t have saggy skin or breasts. It helps with my acne, is moderate so I’ll stick to it, and I simply feel unstoppable with no need for coffee afterwards. I also sleep better, which is just as important. Hope this helps you!

  2. The more we exercise the better it is for us. But our so called ‘busy schedule’ doesn’t leave us with much time to spare for exercise. So if we are able to spare even 15 minutes everyday for exercise, it’ll be good in the long run. We’ll not only be able to deal with day-to-day corporate stress but also with weak bones and other problem of the old age.

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