It’s no secret that being active is good for you. Getting the blood pumping even just a few times a week has been proven to benefit the heart and mind, as well as overall mood. For many people of all ages, the most fun way to stay active is to participate in a favorite sport. No matter what you play, sports are the perfect way to get up and get moving on a regular basis, providing a fun way to reap all the known health benefits of exercise.
While all of this might be old (good) news, what would you think if we told you that sports can also keep you looking forever young?
The search for the fountain of youth is as old as mankind, and despite our best efforts, it still has yet to be discovered. There might not be a magic fountain you can drink from to guarantee your eternal youth, but one recent study does offer such hope to the athletes among us.
According to researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, being active not only keeps you feeling young on the inside, but it looks like it may also prevent and even reverse the skin’s outward signs of aging as well.
The stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis made of dead skin cells and collagen, grows drier and denser as we age. While the epidermis grows denser, the layer beneath it, called the dermis, simultaneously grows thinner, all the while losing elasticity. The combined effect is sagging, wrinkled skin - the familiar look that comes with age.
The study at McMaster University has shown that with an active lifestyle, these visible signs of aging might not be as inevitable as previously thought.
When researchers examined the skin of various human subjects, they found that exercise had remarkable effects on the perceived “age” of the dermis and epidermis layers. In fact, participants over the age of 40 who regularly exercised had skin that was visibly more similar to that of 20 year olds than it was to individuals their own age.
Even a regularly active participant over the age of 65 appeared much younger under the microscope.
It’s never too late to add some activity to your lifestyle. Even middle aged sedentary participants saw a decrease in apparent “skin age” after adding regular moderate exercise to their routines.
By simply participating in the sport you already love to play, or by adding an activity like walking, jogging, or cycling to your weekly schedule, you can preserve the youth of your skin as well as the health of your brain, heart, muscles. We might not be able to stay forever young on paper, but no one would know it by looking at an athlete!