You may feel fit and healthy but if your face is weather-beaten and thin, you can start to look haggard. But, don’t despair you can keep freshfaced, and fit! Christine Fieldhouse reports
With a good self-care regime and a little bit of forward planning, we runners can have flawless complexions that glow with good health...
Plan Your Meals
Lindsey Agness, a personal development trainer and coach, who runs courses on how to age with attitude, says we can easily combat any negative effects of being outdoors by planning ahead. Good habits such as regular meals, sleep and a thorough skincare routine are key, she says.
“It’s just another challenge of being a runner,” says Agness, who has completed four marathons herself and is author of Still 25 Inside (Pan MacMillan, £12.99). “Regular runners need to plan their mealtimes.
“If we get in from work, and dash out for a run, then have a shower, it can be 9 or 10pm before we’re eating our main meal. If we go to bed with a full stomach, the body is busy digesting food, when it would normally be doing cell repair. Similarly, people who run in the mornings may skip breakfast, which is vital for good health.”
Tailor Your Diet
So, what should we be eating if we want energy – and good youthful looks – from our food?
Nutritionist Alison Duker identifies three top nutrients for runners – essential fatty acids (EFAs), Vitamin C and zinc.
She recommends we get our EFAs from oily fish such as salmon, herring, sardines, trout and eel, and explains that fatty acids are essential as they help nutrients get into the cells and move toxins out. More recent research has shown EFAs are also in white flat fish such as Dover sole and turbot. Vitamin C is crucial for good skin and Duker suggests runners should eat as many fresh vegetables and berries as possible. We can take up to 1,000mg in the morning and 1,000mg in the evening if we have Vitamin C in a supplement.
“Vitamin C is an ingredient of collagen which is essential for the skin,” she explains, “and it’s also excellent for healing injuries elsewhere!”
Zinc is a mineral “powerhouse,” she says, and is used in more than 200 reactions within the body.
“If you are running in windy and rainy environments and you’re being battered by the elements, you really need zinc to protect the skin and help with the healing process,” says Duker.
Good sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, ground black pepper, red meat, oysters, cucumber and watermelon seeds.
“You can’t stop ageing,” says Duker. “That’s life. But you can make sure you eat unprocessed foods which are easier to digest, drink plenty of water and avoid sugar which increase wrinkles.”
Lindsey Agness recommends thorough cleansing and moisturising every morning and evening, and the use of a good sunblock, even in autumn and winter. This, she says, will prevent us getting lines around the eyes.
Collagen facials and non-surgical face-lifts in which electrodes are used to stimulate the skin are also good for making the skin look fresher and younger.
“Avoid Botox,” says Duker, “In my opinion, it doesn’t work. It freezes the muscles temporarily but the face will start to sag anyway,” she adds. “Smiling is much better – it lifts the mood and it uses so many muscles. It’s like facial Pilates!”
Agness concludes: “We can spend thousands of pounds on face-lifts and the like, but if we have negative feelings inside, we’ll always feel negative about the way we look. Deal with those feelings and learn to feel good from the inside out.”
And, running does just that, it makes you feel good, inside. So, slap on the sunscreen, and the trainers, and get running with a big smile on your healthy and happy face!
Lindsey Agness is offering a free taster for her Age with Attitude course. For details visit www.agewithattitude.co.uk.
For details of Alison Duker’s courses visit www.eatbetternow.co.uk