HIIT is the skin-friendliest exercise by a long shot. Short intense bursts of exercise that have the same metabolic payoff as hours of repetitive cardio is a no-brainer in terms of time savings (more time for face masks) and lowering repetitive stress is key to maintaining skin elasticity. But there is a new study out by the Mayo Clinic that uncovers more fundamental advantages to this form of exercise vs traditional resistance training and cardio. Here's their impact on skin which is a credible indicator of health and self-care.
1) Cardio-respiratory fitness - improving the blood flow to the skin is crucial to boosting natural radiance and HIIT totally has your back on this if you are honest about what it means to work out at 80% capacity and remember it's a physical capacity not what you think you can do which is usually a lot more than we realise.
2) Insulin sensitivity - this is one of those stealth metrics that exercise affects - it is how effective your body is handling excess glucose. This is very meaningful for the skin as excess glucose causes inflammation which is problematic since it is essentially a self-inflicted wound that diverts the body's resources and contributes to premature aging of the skin. HIIT is excellent at increasing insulin sensitivity and protects the skin.
3) Mitochondrial respiration - Mitochodria are organelles in cells involved in producing and storing energy from respiration. They do this by converting ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) through an intuitive process called phosphorylation. When the cell needs energy this process is reversed. It's crucial to skin health and is most improved by HIIT training.
4) Fat Free Mass - this is the politically incorrect term for lean muscle - the smooth appearance of skin we take for granted is dependent on lean muscle mass that atrophies with aging. Some exercise like vanilla cardio can actually deplete muscle and resistance training is targeted to improve it but HIIT is remarkably effective in building muscle mass and improving skin tone.
5) Ribosome Activity - HIIT training reverses age-related cell changes by increasing ribosome activity which helps build protein that builds muscle cells. Looking good.