Exercise. Sweating. Grime. Yeah, exercise isn’t everyone’s best friend. It’s uncomfortable, warm, and challenging if you’re doing it right. Unfortunately, one of the biggest truths we have to acknowledge as we grow older is that exercise becomes an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.
What most people don’t know is that exercise can really help facilitate your beard gains. If you’re struggling with beard density or you just want to maintain the solid growth you have, adding exercise to your weekly routine will help stimulate growth and encourage healthy skin and hair.
How Exercise Helps Your Beard
Exercise helps your beard through several different factors: how it affects your skin, how it affects your hair, how it affects your body, and how it affects your hormones.
Perspiring during exercises clears your pores of grime and dead skin, and helps “sweat out” existing toxins that affect your overall health. Have you ever noticed that you smell like booze after a hard night out? That’s because you’re sweating out excess chemicals that your body doesn’t need (i.e. booze). The same principle can be applied to regular exercise - get those toxins out of your system!
A healthy body is achieved through eating healthy food and exercising regularly. In order for your skin and hair to fire on all cylinders, you want a healthy body to back it up.
Exercise also increases circulation throughout your body, including your face. Encouraging circulation throughout your whole body helps your physiology absorb nutrients and oxygen more effectively. Amping up your circulation helps stimulate hair growth, too.
Resistance training, paired with a solid diet, also increases testosterone production. Increased testosterone levels are directly correlated with stronger facial hair growth, so that makes this a no-brainer! Men’s Fitness put together this awesome article on the top 7 resistance training exercises that can help stimulate testosterone production. They also put together this collection of detailed workouts to help you out. That being said resistance training doesn’t mean you just lift until you drop. Rowing, rock climbing, core-building yoga, push ups, at-home cross training, and swimming are all forms of resistance training, too.
There are a few supplements that can turn up the heat on your testosterone production when paired with exercise. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin D and Zinc - two of the major components of testosterone production. Increasing your intake on those vital nutrients while you up your exercise will definitely help out your testosterone production.
Exercise for Beginners
Starting exercise as an adult can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. You’ll find that you’re probably not as in shape as you thought (which is fine - that’s the nature of adulthood, right?). Don’t get discouraged! Consider it as starting a new skill from scratch. Like all skills, mastery and comfort come with practice. At Beardbrand, we aim to better ourselves no matter how that manifests. Bettering ourselves comes with embracing discomfort in a major way. A wise person once told me, ‘if you're not uncomfortable, you’re not being challenged, and therefore aren’t improving’.
So where does one start? Well, typically most adults know what kind of exercise they hate. A lot of us (most of us?) hate running, and some of us can’t bear the thought of working out in a room full of more experienced gym-goers. Sweating is also an experience that we’re socially conditioned to dislike because it’s “unattractive”. Last but not least, we can learn to hate exercise because people shame us for not exercising. While all intentions can initially be positive, pushing someone to exercise can actually cause them to resent and avoid exercise altogether.
That all being said, there are tips you can take away here that’ll make your journey to regular exercise much easier. No one said it’s going to be easy, but we’re here to help you see that it can be fun and rewarding. Here’s the breakdown:
Find Exercise You Enjoy
This is probably the most important factor in your exercise journey. You don’t have to sign up at a gym in order to start exercising! There are tons of different ways to exercise regularly that don’t occur to everyone, which means there is an enjoyable physical activity out there waiting just for you. Here are some recommendations to help you find an exercise you enjoy:
Power walk or jog around your neighborhood
Swim laps at a local pool
Try kayaking or rowing
Check out hiking trails near your home
Join a gym closer to work than home - this way you work out right before or right after work
If you’re already a gym member, try a new class or cash in on a training session
Check out a local indoor rock climbing gym (half of the Beardbrand staff does this!)
Sign up for a trial martial arts class (As a karate practitioner, I’m heavily biased towards this one)
Yoga class - they’re harder than they look!
Pilates class - again, way harder than it looks
Spinning class - these are so popular that spinning “gyms” are on the rise
Quantify Your Progress
When we say “quantify your progress”, we mean track your exercise somehow. Once you start keeping track of your exercise - be it how many workouts you complete week, how many miles you run, or how long it takes to bike 10 miles - you can see yourself improve over time. Once you start seeing you’re getting better at your chosen exercise on paper, your brain’s neurochemical reward system will kick in and encourage you to exercise more.
Share Your Journey
Don’t hesitate to post milestones and personal records on social media, or even just selfies after a workout. Social encouragement to keep on growing as a person is a really strong motivator and will help keep you afloat when you’re feeling discouraged. This is also a great way to find accountability buddies and people who are on the same path of self improvement. A Note About Social Media: Haters gonna hate! Eric and the rest of Beardbrand acknowledge that putting yourself out there can come with unsolicited criticisms. You can preemptively get ahead of this by only sharing your progress with your friends and family, or restricting the privacy settings on your social media. By the way - here's what Eric has to say about haters:
The phrase “I’m not 21 anymore” doesn’t apply to only drinking and eating habits. Take it slow at first and work your way up to a challenge. No one wants to get injured. Not only is it physically dangerous to overexert as an adult, but it’s emotionally draining when you have to recover. Take it easy for the first couple of weeks. Once you have a routine under your belt and know your body’s limitations, then you can push yourself a bit harder.
Stick With It
It takes a while for a new routine to become a habit, and it takes practice for any new skill to be mastered. Exercise is no different! Your body is going to resist your efforts to improve your health and change your lifestyle at first. In fact, the first couple of weeks might be a little discouraging. I repeat - Stick. With. It.
There are neurological reasons that it takes time for a routine to stick: you’re literally training your brain to reward you for new behavior. If you stick with it for a few weeks to a couple months, you’ll be over the hardest part of getting back into exercise. All it takes is paying attention to your improved results week after week while you stick with it. Once you start seeing the benefits of exercise in a tangible way, your brain rewards that behavior and trains you you to look forward to and enjoy exercise.
Beard Care When You Exercise
If you're starting to exercise more, you'll need to invest more time and resources into your grooming routine. When you ramp up your sweat production, you should exfoliate more often and make stronger efforts to keep your facial hair clean.
Invest in a boar's hair brush and use it regularly. This will help keep the grime out of your hair, which is more apt to collect when you're sweating more often. Stay on top of your washing practices, too. When you're washing your beard more regularly, regular shampoos will tank the moisture in your skin and beard. Stick with a beard wash and a beard softener to keep your facial hair healthy and happy while you take yourself to the next level.
Exercise is awesome for beard growth, but it’s also awesome for personal growth. We believe in the idea that we keep on growing in all facets - physically, mentally, and spiritually - however that manifests. Try something new. Keep on growing.