We all hear about the importance of exercise, and if you’ve made it a regular part of your daily routine, you’ve no doubt experienced the plethora of physical, mental and emotional benefits it imparts. Exercise can bring about a better physique, healthy weight loss, and fight and prevent disease, but what’s lesser known is that by itself, exercise alone actually accelerates aging, resulting most visibly in prematurely aging skin, along with the rest of the body.
How does this work? Oxidation. We need oxygen to survive, but at the same time, breathing it in causes oxidation, which at its most basic level causes decay. It’s the same reason why valuable artwork is often stored in oxygen-free encasings, or why food in unopened, oxygen-free cans and bottles can last for months or years without spoiling. When we exercise, we breathe in at faster rates, and the oxygen flows into our blood and tissues. Oxygen interacts with our bodies’ cells by “oxidizing” them, essentially damaging or killing them. Damaged cells however don’t just wither away; they can continue to pose problems, and these are the “free radicals” you often read about.
Despite the many benefits of exercise, by itself exercise accelerates this oxidation process, creating large amounts of free radicals, which if not dealt with, harm your health and increase the speed at which you physically age.
To combat this, it’s important to supplement your diet with a variety of antioxidants. Salads and veggies with meals alone won’t do it—even if all you ate was organic, the nutritional content of food today is a shadow of what it was even just 50 years ago, due to depletion of topsoil, soil demineralization, over-farming, and non-sustainable farming and food transportation practices, let alone the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and irradiation involved with non-organic food. According to Dr. Robert Marshall, a frequent speaker at leading nutritionist David Wolfe’s health conferences, as an example, you would need to eat more than 50 apricots today to receive the same nutritional value as an apricot grown in 1953.
Given that, there’s a plethora of options you have to choose from that can squelch the free radicals produced during exercise, from astaxanthin and green tea, to goji berries, spirulina and bee pollen. Taking some prior to and immediately following any exercise is best, but consumption at any time of day can suffice. Not only will you physically feel better, but your face and skin will reflect the results as the months and years pass.