Why Exercise Helps You Look and Feel Better

If there’s one magic bullet for enhancing the quality of your looks — and your life in general — it’s exercise. Here’s why, from Dr. Amy Wechsler, author of The Mind-Beauty Connection.

I know I’m not the first person to tell you that exercise is good for you. You’ve heard the mantra many times before. But let me say that if there’s one magic bullet for enhancing the quality of your looks, and your life in general, it’s exercise. The science is well documented: Exercise fights the onset of age-related disease, lifts your spirits and sense of well-being, increases your lung capacity so you can take in more oxygen, boosts circulation to deliver nutrients to cells and skin, lowers inflammation, and, for many, is said to be the ultimate stress reducer. That healthy glow you get after a great workout (rosy cheeks indicative of the increased circulation that is nourishing all those facial cells and tissues) isn’t just for show.

This Is Your Brain on Exercise. There’s no end to the number of studies that prove the mind-beauty connection in relation to exercise. As I was writing this book another fresh study emerged clearly showing that exercise causes your brain to turn up production of certain brain chemicals known to have antidepressant effects. The researchers also found that exercise excited a gene for a nerve growth factor called VGF. VGFs are small proteins critical to the development and maintenance of nerve cells. Even more fascinating is the fact that the study brought to light thirty-three VGFs that show altered activity with exercise, the majority of which had never been identified before. It’s proof that we still have more to learn about our genes and the power that our habits can have on them.

Learn more ways you can improve your health with The Mind-Beauty Connection.

About the author

Amy Wechsler, MD, is a dermatologist and a psychiatrist, one of only two doctors in the country who are board-certified in both specialties. She is also the author of The Mind-Beauty Connection. Evidence of the mind-beauty connection walks into her office every day: “Premature aging and adult acne are the two most common skin problems I see, and stress and exhaustion are often at the bottom of both,” she says. Dr. Wechsler practices in New York City, where she lives with her husband and two kids. She is a member of the RealAge Scientific Advisory Board. (Copyright © 2008 by RealAge Corporation)