Did You Know … Exercise can help your 40-year-old skin look half its age?

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If you’re sweating it out with exercise, you’re not only working towards a firmer physique, but you also could be reversing the signs of aging, according to a promising new study by researchers at McMaster University in Canada.

The study involved 29 men and women, aged 20 to 84. Half were active, exercising at least three hours each week, and the others were sedentary, exercising less than an hour per week. Researchers examined the participants’ backsides in order to evaluate skin that’s rarely exposed to other aging factors such as the sun.

They found that participants over 40 who exercised regularly had skin that was much closer in composition to that of 20- and 30-year-olds. This held true even for participants 65 and older. However, the researchers also realized that other extrinsic and intrinsic aging factors, such as genes and diet, could have played a role. To test whether exercise alone had influenced skin aging, they asked a group of sedentary participants, aged 65-plus who had normal skin for their age, to jog or bike at a moderate pace for 30 minutes twice a week over a three-month period. The difference in pre and post skin samples was remarkable—with the outer and inner layers of post-exercise skin looking similar to the skin of 20- to 40-year-olds.

Although the study was small, the astonishing results offer excellent proof that it’s never too late to change your skin’s destiny.

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