- Science! April 16
Researchers have discovered yet another benefit of exercise: It not only helps skin look younger, but may even reverse skin aging in those who begin exercising later in life.
According to The New York Times, scientists at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, found that mice who were bred to age prematurely became frail and demented and lost their fur when they remained sedentary. Mice that had access to running wheels had an opposite response: They maintained healthy hearts, muscles, brains, and reproductive organs, and their fur never turned gray.
Researchers then turned to humans. They tested the skin samples of 29 volunteers — males and females, between the ages of 20 and 84 — and had half perform at least three hours of moderate or vigorous physical activity a week, while the others exercised for less than an hour each week. After taking samples of skin, researchers discovered that the men and women older than 40 who exercised frequently had a thinner and healthier stratum corneum (the part of the skin you see and feel) and thicker dermis layer, which looked more like that of a 20-something.
Scientists are still trying to figure out how exercise changes the skin composition, but they did discover that the skin samples of those who exercised more had high levels of a myokine — a substance created by active muscles that enters the bloodstream and starts changes in cells — called IL-15. While they still don't have all the answers, researchers are amazed by what they've discovered so far. "It is astonishing to consider all of the intricate ways in which exercise changes our bodies," says Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and exercise science at McMaster who oversaw the study. Read more about the research at The New York Times.- - Catherine Garcia
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