Did you know that exercise can help treat psoriasis?
Benefits of Exercise
Studies show that psoriasis patients are 7% heavier than those who aren’t afflicted with the disease. This statistic isn’t really surprising. Psoriasis patients probably aren’t the most active gym-goers. After all, who wants to expose lots of skin while wearing tank tops, short shorts or a bathing suit? During times of heavy flare-ups, patients probably prefer home-bound activities and avoid interactions with others whenever possible. Combining isolation and sedentary behavior with overeating and over drinking that tends to accompany depression and you have a recipe for weight gain.
Exercise will, of course, help restore overall health for anyone who chooses to move their body. But exercising to lose weight is especially important for psoriasis patients. Obesity can lead to chronic inflammation which can worsen psoriasis flare-ups. Our bodies tend to make more fat cells in response to increased inflammation, so it is even harder for obese psoriasis patients to lose weight.
Studies show that exercise helps reduce the risk of heart problems. It is especially important for psoriasis patients to do everything possible to keep their heart healthy because the skin condition places them at a higher risk of heart disease.
General Exercise and Diet Tips
For best weight loss results, combine aerobic exercise and weight lifting. Start with gentle exercises like walking or light jogging. Gradually build up your endurance and strength.
Don’t forget that diet plays a major role in weight loss. Look for ways to include heart-healthy foods as part of a well-balanced diet. Avoid processed and fatty foods.
Challenges of Exercise
Many people with psoriasis face these challenges when exercising:
• Exposing skin (and unattractive flare-ups) in public can be embarrassing.
• Sustaining an injury that damages the skin might trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
• Sweat and friction in areas like the groin, breasts, and abdominal folds can worsen the condition of the skin.
• Increased joint pain for psoriatic arthritis patients (a condition that affects one in four people with psoriasis).
Tips for Exercise That Won’t Trigger Flare-Ups
• Before exercising, apply a lubricant to the areas likely to be irritated. Using petroleum jelly on the skin around the groin and under the breasts is a good idea. You can also try applying sweat-absorbent powder.
• Psoriatic arthritis patients should wait until inflammation is under control before beginning a workout regime. However, you should note that pain will actually get better with exercise.
• Wear loose-fitting clothing.
• Do everything possible to avoid trauma to your skin.
• Shower immediately after exercising. Gently wash skin; don’t rub or scrub.
• If you suspect friction or exercise-related flare-ups, use topical medication right away.
Guest blogger and fellow psoriasis sufferer Ann Allen shares her knowledge about psoriasis with various health sites. She is in the process of losing weight in an effort to bring her psoriasis under control. Ann combines exercise with weight loss injections.