Regular exercise is continuously touted for weight maintenance, the reduction of heart disease, and an improved overall sense of wellbeing. However, rising evidence suggests exercise is becoming a means to reduce the risk of and manage psoriasis, an autoimmune condition in which skin cells rapidly buildup and causes the skin to become dry, flaky, and potentially painful. And while individuals may be worried exercise will trigger an unpleasant flare-up, these exercises and tips may help rest your worried mind.
Exercise and Psoriasis
Although the link between exercise and psoriasis is not direct, interweaving theories aim to establish the beneficial relationship. First off, exercise helps to control weight, which is noteworthy related to the positive relationship between obesity and psoriasis risk. Being overweight may also lead to chronic inflammation, which has shown to worsen psoriatic symptoms. Exercise additionally has the ability to relieve stress, which is a likely culprit of a psoriatic flare-up. With the recommendations of 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 times a week, these 4 exercises and movements appear to be safe for individuals living with psoriasis:
1. Water Aerobics
The National Psoriasis Foundation encourages individuals with psoriatic arthritis to start in the water, as there is less impact on the body’s joints while still remaining effective. Slowly building up strength can also help ease the transition of incorporating various activity outside of the pool. If unsure where to start, water aerobics and light swimming may be a beneficial psoriasis workout for you.
2. Range of Motion Exercises
In addition to water aerobics, the NPF promotes the range of motion exercises to individuals with psoriatic arthritis. In fact, the foundation along with The Arthritis Foundation teamed up to create Be Joint Smart, a resource people with psoriatic arthritis can use to keep moving and reduce joint pain. However, all can benefit from range of motion exercises to maintain flexibility and prevent stiffness.
3. LISS Cardio
Formally known as low-intensity steady state, LISS cardio promotes exercises at a continuous and consistent pace, including walking, jogging, and cycling. Find more on the benefit of LISS cardio and how to get started here.
4. Sporadic Activities
Though it may not seem like exercise, sporadic activities can certainly add up! And especially during a busy schedule, getting some sort of activity throughout the day can still be significant and even help improve mood. Stay active by biking to work, walking during your lunch hour, or playing fetch with the family dog.
Psoriasis Workout Tips
Although you may be anxious to start a new workout routine, it is important to consult with your primary care doctor to gain approval. Their knowledge and expertise can help tailor and guide you into a safe, yet effective exercise program.
Starting out slow and small is recommended across the board for workout beginners. And even if weight loss does not follow, psoriatic symptoms and overall well being are likely to improve. Additionally, overdoing it too much may cause joint pain in those with psoriatic arthritis.
Learn to Manage Pain
Flare-ups more than likely will occur and learning how to manage pain is important. While it may be more appealing to curl up on the couch in bouts of discomfort, getting up and active may ease pain.
Wear Appropriate Workout Gear
Don’t just look the part, but reap the benefits of wearing appropriate workout gear. To reduce friction and irritation, wear light, breathable clothing. Wearing sweat absorbent powders during and applying moisturizers after can also minimize irritation, especially when applied to sensitive and affected areas. And before jumping into the pool, a thin layer of moisturizer can combat against psoriatic symptoms.
Complement with Diet
It is imperative to not discount the importance of good nutrition. In fact, consuming a well-balanced diet and maintaining weight can have significant outcomes on psoriasis. Find more on how food can affect your psoriasis here.