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As part of our Jurlique Wellbeing Challenge, pilates teacher and general fitness guru Leah Simmons has created an exclusive fitness plan for you to take on over the next four weeks. As part of this challenge, she guest blogs about her own personal fitness journey, relationship with food and some great tips along the way.*

We all know that exercise does wonders for our body. The benefits of leading a healthy, active lifestyle are numerous and, although it may be harder than sin to drag yourself out of bed for that early morning workout, I’m fairly certain no one ever regrets doing it after they’re done. But the rewards of exercising transcend far beyond just dropping those kilos or cultivating your six-pack. There are additional, more subtle effects that exercising has on our bodies… perhaps you are sleeping better, maybe your hair is shinier or you are feeling less anxious?

One of the more visible benefits is the effect it has on our skin. Our skin is our largest living organ, made up of billions of skin cells and blood vessels. So, like every other organ in our body, it needs nourishment and nutrients to thrive.

Skin-Fit… Is There Such a Thing?

Go For The Glow
You’ve just finished your workout, your heart is beating like a Metallica drum solo and you crawl to the bathroom to catch your breath. You peer into the mirror and after the initial shock of seeing that exhausted sweaty face staring back at you, you notice that your skin has taken on a kind of golden sheen. You are glowing!! And this is no accident, believe me. When you get your heart really pumping, you deliver a flood of newly oxygenated blood to the living layers of your skin and skin cells. Your circulation is firing and you start producing more natural oils thus giving you that gorgeous “glow.”

Sweat It Out
Have you ever wondered where “sweat” actually comes from? Sweating is our body’s natural cooling system. When our body temperature increases, our pores secrete sweat to remove excess heat and waste from our skin through evaporation. You could almost say sweating is actually like having a mini-facial. Imagine those pesky little blackheads that you just can’t seem to get rid of… sweating can push the impurities out from your pores. It’s important to note however that you must wash your face immediately after working out to ensure that the gunk doesn’t get sucked back in!

Wrinkles Be Gone!!
Exercise can also help regulate skin-significant hormones and prevent free-radical damage. When we get stressed where is the first place it shows? On our faces… Dark circles, sagging skin and a pasty pallor are not a healthy person make… and this can be due to elevated levels of the stress-hormone Cortisol. Regular exercise can help maintain healthy levels of this hormone and also supports the production of collagen which can help keep your skin stay firm and supple-looking.

Don’t Worry… Be Happy!!
And finally… exercise just makes you FEEL GOOD!! You’ll have a spring in your step and your energy levels will sky rocket. And sooner or later you’ll be rocking around town with a giant grin on your face. Laughter is the fastest and easiest way to elevate your mood and help you look and feel amazing. When you smile with your whole face it’s like an instant facelift! So turn that frown upside down and laugh your way through your next gym session!!

A Few Things to Note

Always remember to protect your skin from the sun and wear a broad spectrum sunscreen whether you are working out indoors or out. I’m currently obsessed with Jurlique’s SPF40 Sun Specialist Cream – it smells amazing!
Try to avoid wearing makeup while working out. You want to try and get rid of dirt on your face, not add to it!

Bring your favourite cleanser in your gym bag and make sure that you wash your face immediately after your workout. I love Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Mousse which has a light, foamy texture and is great for combination skin.
Wash your hands thoroughly after working out before you touch your face. You don’t even want to know what bacteria lurks on communal gym equipment… yuck.

Be aware of too-tight clothes and skin chafing – it you are going to be sweating a lot make sure you are in some comfortable gear.

If you are swimming in a chlorinated pool then make sure you rinse off in some fresh water immediately after you get out – the chemicals used in pools can be quite irritating and drying for some skin types. And don’t forget to lock-in moisture for face, body and hands. I love Herbal Recovery Antioxidant Face Oil and the always classic Rose Hand Cream by Jurlique.

Check out the Jurlique Fitness Challenge for fitness tips, how-to’s and a four week calendar to get you started.

Download the Jurlique X Leah Simmons Fitness Challenge here


*The views contained in this Blog are those of the author and do not represent the views or opinions of Jurlique. You should seek medical advice before commencing any exercise regime.