This content reflects the views of the individual blogger and is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
Benefits of exercising with psoriasis
We all know exercise is good for our health and our immune systems. Getting out and actually doing some exercise can be the tricky bit for people, especially if you are feeling self-conscious about showing off your psoriasis or even going anywhere near a gym (I know what an intimidating experience it can be). However, exercise helps fight inflammation in our bodies and many experts believe inflammation can make psoriasis worse. Exercise doesn't have to be a long, boring workout where you are stuck in the gym. By picking an activity you enjoy you are more likely to stick with it!
If you have psoriasis (no matter how much or how little) you should really be trying to get some exercise to keep yourself healthy, keep inflammation down and keep yourself happy. As the saying goes “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
I am not here to tell you which exercise you should be doing or what workout is right for you, what I am going to do is share my experience of exercising with psoriasis and how it has helped me, my skin and my mental health. Hopefully this will inspire you to get out and find the form of exercise that you can enjoy too!
I will be the first to admit that the last place you will ever see me is in the gym. I just hate the place. Cardio is not my friend and if I run more than five minutes I get some serious cramp going on. Luckily, I have found a source of exercise that I love....Hot Yoga!
Hot Yoga is a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions (Usually around 40 degrees and 40% humidity) and, though this might sound like some peoples’ idea of hell, I am completely obsessed with it. I go for 90 minutes two or three times a week and really get a great all over workout with a solid sweat on. I don’t get out of breath like I used to from doing cardio, I don’t feel sore or weak lifting weights around others but what I do feel is relaxed and strong at the positions I can get my body into and what I can achieve.
Another reason I love Hot Yoga is it teaches you about patience. Not everyone is going to get a pose the first time and you might not be as good as the person next to you but that is not what yoga is about. Yoga is about learning at your own pace and doing the best that YOU can do. By learning patience, it means that when you persevere and do finally manage to get into a pose or do something for the first time you feel triumphant and accomplished within yourself – then you really feel those endorphins!
Yoga has helped me deal with my psoriasis in many ways. It has helped with my patience in the psoriasis process. Waiting to see doctors, waiting for referrals or medications to kick in and start working can be incredibly frustrating. Practicing yoga has helped me learn more patience within these processes and also has taught me how to be more patient with my body and how it works and heals.
Top tips for exercising with psoriasis
1. Start small: The important part is to get going, experts say. Start small. You don’t have to run a marathon! Go for walks if you can, maybe 30 to 45 minutes each. Exercise is helpful for your health even if you don’t lose weight.
2. Choose loose clothing: To lessen friction, wear looser exercise clothing. Sweat and friction in areas such as groin, breast, or abdominal folds can also affect psoriasis, try and avoid anything that abrades sensitive skin.
3. Drink plenty of water: It’s important to stay hydrated throughout your workout. Have a drink of water before you begin your routine, and keep a bottle with you as you exercise, pausing to take a sip every 15 minutes or so. When you’re finished, have another drink of water. People with psoriasis have dry skin, so drinking water and staying hydrated is especially important!
When people think about exercise they usually only think about physical exercise. I truly believe that looking after and exercising your mental health is just as important as physical exercise. One of my favourite ways to exercise and relax my mind is through meditation.
There are loads of great apps out there to help and guide you through meditation exercises, my favourite is Headspace. Headspace is an app which takes you through ten minutes of guided meditation. That’s right, you only need to spend ten minutes a day (or every few days) practicing meditation. I tend to meditate at night time, just before I go to bed, as I find it helps me drift off and get a better night sleep – a win/win situation if you ask me! Meditation has really helped me with my psoriasis flare ups. I tend to not get as annoyed with myself or upset with my body for having them. Rather I am accepting of the flare ups and realise that it is out with my control. I know that I am doing everything I can and that is within my control to ensure my psoriasis gets better and eventually my psoriasis will be back to a controlled state. It took me a while to get to this point....I was not this calm and collected before I started meditating, believe me!
I hope my experience of how exercise has helped my psoriasis has been beneficial and encourages you to get out there and find time to explore and do more of your favourite activities!
UK/IE MAT-11920 Date of Preperation: September 2017
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.