Maintaining an active lifestyle is essential to managing psoriasis, but it’s not always easy. It can be a challenge to learn how to live with psoriasis while keeping up all the activities you love. With determination and lots of support from loved ones it can be done and it will help keep psoriasis under control. Many sources, including the National Psoriasis Foundation, note that exercise helps fight inflammation in the body, which is said to worsen psoriasis
If you want to add some physical activity to your routine, it’s simple to get started, and it may help you manage your psoriasis. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you add exercise to your treatment plan:
- Start slowly
Don’t dive into vigorous exercise if your body isn’t used to it. There are plenty of ways you can get started at a slow, comfortable pace. For example, set aside time to take regular walks around your neighborhood or join a beginner fitness class.
If you try to do too much, too soon, you risk becoming frustrated, sore, or even injured. Instead, aim to build up your fitness level over time.
It’s also a good idea to let your doctor know that you’re changing up your exercise routine. If you’re worried about aggravating your condition or becoming injured, your doctor can suggest ways to get active safely.
- Focus on the little things
It might feel unusual at first, but there are lots of small ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Even when you don’t have a lot of time, these simple ideas can help you squeeze in extra activity:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park in the furthest spot from the store to add some extra walking.
- Do squats while brushing your teeth.
- Do some calisthenics while watching TV.
Even better, try combining exercise with time outside. For example, if you usually eat lunch at your desk, get up and take a walk around the block before you get back to work. Not only will you get extra exercise, but you can enjoy fresh air and get a potential boost of vitamin D from the sun.
- Find someone who shares your goals
It’s always nice to spend time with friends, but having a workout buddy is about more than companionship. Exercising with a friend is a great way to keep you motivated to stay on track. You’ll be less likely to skip a walk or run in the park if you’re meeting someone. Plus, exercising with a buddy can be fun! If you can find someone who has a similar fitness level, you can even set goals together.
- Stay hydrated
Drinking water when exercising is important for everyone — but it’s especially important if you have psoriasis. Dry, itchy psoriasis skin needs to be hydrated at all times. You’ll need to drink even more water than usual to make up for the sweat lost during your workout. So don’t forget the water bottle!
- Wear a psoriasis-friendly wardrobe
When you have psoriasis, your workout clothes can make a big difference to how much you enjoy being active. The combination of tight spandex and sweat may irritate your skin, so plan on wearing loose, breathable clothing. Cotton is a great choice, along with fabrics like modal and rayon. Choose clothing that helps you feel comfortable and confident.
The gym locker room can be a scary place when you have a flare. If you’re not comfortable changing out in the open, there are other options. Many gyms have personal changing rooms available, where you can have a little more privacy. You can also simply wear your workout gear right to the gym.
- Embrace cold showers
Though you may shiver a little, cold showers can be incredibly helpful if you’re working out with psoriasis. Sweat from your workout can aggravate psoriasis plaques. A cold shower will not only wash away the sweat, but also help cool you down so that you stop sweating. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a cold shower as quickly as possible after a workout.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle — and it can be an additional way to help keep your psoriasis flares under control. Staying active when you have a chronic condition has its challenges, but don’t give up. Remember to start slowly, and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about what level of activity is right for you. With a little patience and persistence, you can make exercise an important part of your routine.