Dust off your old gym membership card, pull on those boxing gloves, or sign up for a booty-shaking Zumba class. Why? Because exercise has been shown to help psoriasis! Exercising regularly not only promotes a healthier lifestyle, but can also lead to healthier glowing skin. How?
1.) Exercise is a STRESS-BUSTER
We all know that those sudden psoriatic flare-ups go hand-in-hand with that looming work-deadline or hectic exam period. Exercising is a great way of relieving stress – this is a well-proven fact! Working out can be a terrific outlet for all of life’s little headaches. Beat that punching bag, slam-dunk that B-Ball, or focus on beating the clock – they’re all fun distractions. Exercises such as Yoga and Tai-Chi can also put you in a very focused and Zen-like state, taking you miles away from that dreaded deadline. Even better, take whatever the activity is outside – the fresh air and change of scenery will help un-jumble and calm your mind.
If exercise can reduce stress, it only makes sense that it can also help psoriasis. The correlation between high stress levels and psoriasis is well evidenced. Studies have found that stress lowers the body’s natural defence mechanisms and compromises our immune system; this is when psoriasis most often decides to pounce! For example, Dr. Paul Yamauchi, a Medical Director at the Skin Care Centre of Santa Monica explains, ‘Stress may trigger psoriasis to flare for the first time, or even worsen for those who already have psoriasis.’
Exercise can also help combat low self-esteem and depression, which is often brought on by this irritating and sometimes very visible auto-immune disease. Lifting those weights will not only raise your confidence because you look like ‘The Rock’ or ‘Arni’, but because it lowers the stress hormone cortisol and increases feel-good endorphins. If weights aren’t your thing, join an aerobics class and see how you mood lifts sky-high!
By reaching a more relaxed and confident state of mind via exercise, you will not only improve your day-to-day quality of life but help keep your psoriasis outbreaks at bay.
2.) Exercise Makes You LOSE WEIGHT
Losing that extra layer of fat by working up a sweat can really help psoriasis. Firstly, by eliminating those extra rolls, you can reduce all of that sweating, chafing, and rubbing – all of which does nothing to help already sore and irritated skin.
Secondly, losing weight can also help reduce the internal inflammation present in psoriatic patches. This inflammation is believed to be similar to the constant, low-level inflammation found in fat-cells. If weight loss can help combat our fat cells, than surely it can also help combat our inflamed plaques. It has also been found that people with psoriasis are more likely to suffer from diabetes and heart disease. As a result, keeping fit can help reduce your risk to a variety of health problems.
Begin a daily or weekly exercise routine, and you’ll be well on your way to losing those unwanted layers.
3.) Exercise Works Those Joints – PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS!
Another major plus of regular exercise is that it can help preserve the joints often affected by psoriatic arthritis. Exercise not only helps relieve the pressure on weak joints through weight loss, but promotes healthier muscles and maintains joint mobility and flexibility.
Two forms of exercises are particularly useful: Strengthening and Range-of-Motion.
Strengthening exercises focus on building up and strengthening the muscles around susceptible or affected joints, so to better support it. The director of the Women’s Orthopaedic and Joint Disease Centre in Boston stresses that strength training can ‘help protect knees and ankles, take force off of the joints, and also help prevent soft-tissue injuries…’ Moreover, ‘… regular movements also helps to supply the cartilage in the joints with blood.’ Time to invest in some light weights!
Range-of-Motion exercises focus on bettering movement and flexibility, especially around stiff joints. Untie, flex and stretch them with low-impact activities such as tai-chi, yoga or an aquatic exercise session.
Now that you know about exercise and psoriasis, its time to put Eye of the Tiger on repeat and box psoriasis into submission with a bit of cardio. Look out for our future psoriasis exercising guide, which will focus on answering questions such as “How do you deal with psoriasis in the gym” and “What types of exercise are best for psoriasis?”