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Miles Younger

How exercise could be destroying your looks.

Stuart exercising

January is all about exercise. That shiny new gym membership or that intensive new training plan, we are all on it!  

Personally I love classes, they are great for my motivation but some people prefer to stick to their own individual plan. Whatever the case, exercise is so important for well-being, stress relief and general good health, all of which contribute to us ageing better. However, when exercise becomes an obsession the reverse can be true. Believe it or not there are factors that can contribute to you looking older as a direct consequence of exercise. Here are the 5 things I think you should avoid when exercising to stop yourself looking older.

Straining when lifting weights repeatedly can cause frown lines.

The Platysmal bands are two strips of muscles that start at the base of your neck and run up the front left and right sides of your neck, all the way up to the jaw. When you lift weights they pull down on your face, causing the skin to pull down with them. You can see in the mirror when you lift a weight, that those muscles in your neck may tighten and stick out. When you see this happening, take note of how it feels so that you can correct it and prevent signs of strain on your face. Once in a while won’t do any harm but a few times a week, every week and the signs of strain will start to show on your face permanently.

Sugary energy drinks before you exercise can cause long term skin damage.

If we are feeling weak or tired before a big workout we tend to reach for the sugary energy drinks.  We think it will give us energy straight away by instantly spiking our blood sugar levels. This spike has a negative impact as it’s proven to damage the collagen in our skin, making us look old before our time. Much better to wait and sip slowly on these energy drinks during your workout and not before. The sugar is only needed by the muscles when they are already working hard. Otherwise you won’t gain the full benefit of the fuel and your system will go into overdrive in order to deal with the sugar. One other thing to note is that when there is limited fuel available the body will start to burn body fat. Another good reason to cut down on these sugary workout drinks.

Avoid too much endurance work and try interval training instead.

It’s been proven that too much endurance training causes increased levels of free radicals, stress hormones and inflammation, which all add to the ageing process. Long runs, massive circuits without a break are the most damaging. They can contribute to premature skin ageing and also internal ageing of key organs such as the heart.  Interval training is less taxing on the system and the joints because it is done in considerably less time. Interval training can also burn more fat in less time and improves insulin sensitivity. Science has proven that poor insulin sensitivity is associated with premature ageing.

The running machine causes saggy face.

High impact working out like running can encourage sagging of the face as we age. As we pound the running machine, the skin is forced up and down repeatedly. As we age the skin on our faces loses its elasticity which makes it more prone to this sort of damage. This sort of action for half an hour say three times a week, may well have a long term effect.  To counter act this effect you can find some excellent facial exercises online to keep your facial muscles toned just like the rest of your body. This will help keep the skin tight and prevent any premature sagging.

Losing too much weight on your face can make you look gaunt!

As we age our faces naturally lose the springy elastin and collagen. I think of it a bit like the tent pegs on a canvas, pulling the tent tight. As these decline, the support the skin has is more reliant on the thin layer of fat we have beneath our skin. The thinner this is the more the skin will wrinkle as it doesn’t have the tent pegs to keep it tight. This is why you see people who lose lots of weight suddenly looking older in the face.  Faces can often look harsh without any of those softer curves. We all strive for the perfect abs by stripping fat out of our diet but at what cost to the face? It’s all about balancing things out for the body and the face. You are unlikely to walk into a bar and flash your abs immediately at a complete stranger but your face is always first seen and first judged.

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