Runner’s Face, True or False…
This is a conversation that just never goes away. Do you run? Yes. Don’t you worry about your face? Nope, and even if I did, not enough to stop running.
Runner’s face is a term used to describe a gaunt, skeletal face, lacking in fat and collagen. Many believe that this look is due to the bouncing effect on your face and skin while running. That’s pretty much were the truth ends 😉
Yes, runners have a ‘face’, but interestingly it has nothing to do with the bouncing, and much more to do with the physical stress that they put on their body during the run. Which is again contradictory to what we know about exercise being beneficial to our bodies.
And its true, exercise is great for our bodies. Cardiovascular exercise particularly increases blood flow in the body, which delivers large amounts of oxygen to our organs, allowing them to function at their optimum. Skin specifically benefits from this, with collagen production increasing, which results in younger looking skin.
Perspiration is another pro of exercise. Sweating rids the body of toxins and waste, the sebaceous glands are also activated with perspiration which results in the body secreting sebum and urea than softens the skin.
Not to mention of course the de-stressing properties of physical activity. Workouts have been known to reduce cortisol in the body and release happy drugs in the system such as dopamine and serotonin that help enhance our mood.
So, what exactly is the problem with running and how is it affecting our face and skin? Running at high speeds for long periods of time puts your body in stress mode, and nobody needs that extra stress right? Just like any other type of stress whether emotional or physical, your body releases cortisol and free radicals that age your skin, reducing its elasticity and collagen production. This is why your skin appears dull and saggy when you are depressed or under great amounts of pressure, its the work of the free radicals. In order to combat the effects of the free radicals, the body employs anti-oxidants to fight the free radicals. This is why, eating a diet high in anti-oxidant rich nutrients is so crucial. They will eventually help fight the free radicals and the signs of aging in the body and skin.
For outdoor runners, its a double whammy, with stress, sun exposure dealing blows to the skin, not to mention pollution as well.
Just like everything in life, running is a balancing act. Our ability to reach that runner’s high without affecting our body, means that we will either not put our bodies into stress mode in the first place, ‘unlikely’ is what any runner will tell you.
The next move would be to eat the most nutritiously dense meals, in the hope of providing your body with enough anti-oxidants to combat the free radicals. As for the last move, which non-runners may unwittingly suggest, find another sport.. Ain’t going to happen, there is little that can induce that dopamine-induced sense of joy quite like a good old fashion run!