Regular exercise can help the way you look and feel about yourself, both inside and out.

Some of the best health and beauty secrets come from within. Through regular exercise, it’s possible to clear up acne, ward off the signs of aging and even battle depression.

The benefits of exercise have been touted for years. Being active boosts high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) and decreases unhealthy triglycerides – keeping the blood flowing smoothly and decreasing the risk of heart disease. Regular physical activity can also help reduce the risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

Here are a few ways improved fitness can impact beauty.

  • Make sure you are getting proper nutrition and rest and your recommended daily allowance of protein to help fuel and recover from your workouts. (0.36g per pound of body weight, 150-lb. person would have an RDA of 54g of protein)
  • Staying hydrated during workouts helps your body eliminate toxins through your sweat, and shuttles oxygen and nutrients through your whole body, including your skin. Try to take a drink every 15 minutes while working out.
  • For the skin, all the trapped oil and dirt that contributes to acne is broken free when you work up a good sweat.
  • Exercise also helps naturally stimulate hair growth, increasing blood flow and hydration of your follicles.
  • Exercises focusing on your core (the 29 muscles located in your back, abdomen and pelvis) help with balance, stability and posture – like crunches, sit-ups and leg lifts.
  • Work out without makeup and be sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin after a workout to help clear away sweat, dirt and oil.
  • Use shorter, circuit training workouts (fast-paced, using many different exercises that focus on muscle toning) to help keep hormones in balance. Workouts of this nature don’t have to last longer than 30 minutes.
  • Improve your mood (anxiety, stress, depression) with some deep breathing and a gentle stretching routine for your major muscle groups (back, legs, shoulders).
  • If you really stick with your workout regimen, you’ll begin to notice the changes in your body. This will help boost your confidence. Seeing is believing. Every time you look in the mirror, know that you are giving it your all.
  • Focus on creating lean muscle mass to firm up sagging areas and give your skin a more taut look. Instead of doing 12 reps at a lighter weight increase the weight, and do fewer reps a couple of times a week.