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The Secret Beauty Benefits of Exercise

07/17/2014 05:30 EDT | Updated 09/16/2014 05:59 EDT
Jordan Siemens via Getty Images

Listen up, we all know the benefits of exercise on our bodies, including but not limited to: fat reduction, increased muscle mass, toning, firming and tightening...yadda, yadda, yadda. But, did you know that exercise has some pretty wicked beauty benefits as well? That's right, regular activity is shown to help everything from increasing hair growth to reducing acne. So before you go spending hundreds on skin care, spa treatments and hair products, take a gander at what the gym has to offer in the cosmetic department!

Acne Reduction

Some say a good workout is the natural (and certainly more affordable) equivalent of a mini-facial. Forget about squeezing those black heads, when we sweat our pores open up naturally and all the muck and guck that was trapped in the skin is released. And it doesn't just work on the superficial contaminants that live on the surface; exercise can also help decrease the chances of breaking out, from the inside-out. Sweating is one of the ways our body flushes out the toxins that live inside of us. A good sweat session will get them out before they end up leading to clogged pores and those awful 'under the skin' blemishes*. Goodbye Biore, hello bootcamp!

*Disclaimer: just as quick as our bodies expel the dirt and grime they can also be reabsorbed, so make sure that you wash your face as soon as your done!

Anti-Aging

Regular activity can also make us look younger. C'mon, need I say more? When we exercise, more blood and oxygen is delivered to our skin allowing for nutrients to penetrate and repair all kinds of damage caused by the sun and pollutants etc. These nutrients also promote collagen production. More collagen means tighter, fuller and more elastic skin. #Winning!

Hair Health

The effects of exercise have also been compared to that of a deep conditioning hair treatment! The detoxifying process, that happens when we sweat, cleans out our natural hair oils making them less damaging and more hydrating. And, get this, our hair doesn't just get softer it also gets fuller! (Bless!) The activity induced, increased circulation to the scalp encourages production of special nutrients that will help avoid hair loss and even encourage growth! To really maximize these effects, some experts recommend doing more inverted exercises* forcing more blood flow to the hair follicles. Also, attention my fellow yogis: they also say that those inverted yoga poses will release tension in the neck and back thus allowing more blood to reach the head. I'm one downward dog away from ditching my hair extensions.

*Try raising your legs when you doing planks and push-ups or try doing pike planks with a stability ball.

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