It’s no secret that regular exercise can help you shed pounds, build your muscle tone, enhance flexibility, and boost your energy levels. While all of these effects are certainly beneficial to your overall health and well being, there’s another advantage you can gain from exercise: healthier, radiant, and more youthful looking skin.

It’s true! The benefits of hitting the gym to lift weights, rolling out the yoga mat, taking bike rides, or hiking through the woods are much more than a slim physique: physical activity can visibly improve the appearance of your skin in ways that science is only just discovering. If dropping a few pants sizes and increasing your energy levels aren’t incentive enough for you to put on your workout gear, here’s a look at how exercise can improve the look of your skin and give you a glowing, more youthful complexion.

Clearer, Smoother Skin

Whether you are suffering from acne or an occasional breakout, working out can help to combat those blemishes and make your skin clearer and smoother.

Exercise works up a sweat, and sweat is good for the skin. When you workout, your pores dilate and sweat helps to remove dirt and oil that clogs them. In essence, sweat is kind of like a facial! Just make sure that you wash your skin with a gentle soap after your workout to prevent the oil and dirt from getting trapped in your pores when the constrict.

A Natural Glow

When you start exercising on a regular basis, you can stop using a lot of those makeup products that you’ve been using to create the illusion of a natural glow. Why? – Because working out can give you a natural glow! Aerobic exercise, in particular, helps to oxygenate your blood and improves circulation. This leads to increased blood flow in all parts of your body – including your skin. Your skin is filled with blood vessels, and those vessels sit near the surface of the skin. When you exercise, those blood vessels dilate, creating a healthier, more radiant, and glowing appearance.

Firmer Skin

It’s often believed that exercise can lead to sagging skin. While yes, intense exercise – like long-distance running – can strain the skin, moderate exercise can actually help to firm up your skin. That’s because when you work out, your body naturally produces more collagen, the protein that gives your skin a firmer, supple appearance. As you age, the production of collagen naturally decreases, so if you want to avoid sagging skin – or combat it – start adding moderate exercise to your routine.

Increased Vitamin D Intake

If you take your workout routine outdoors, you can do more than just gain the benefits that exercise offers – you can also increase your vitamin D intake.

Your body naturally produced vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun, which is why this vitamin is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus – two things that are important for the strength of your bones. Vitamin D is also important for the skin. It optimizes the immune system and helps destroy damage caused by free radicals, which can cause premature ageing. It also beefs up the cell rejuvenation – including your skin cells. In other words, exercising outside can increase your vitamin D intake, which can do wonders for your skin. Just make sure that you apply sunscreen! To really up to the antioxidant effect that vitamin D provides, trying adding a mitochondria supplement to your diet. Mitochondrial support supplements target free radicals, providing further protection for your skin – and your overall health and well being.