According to Delphine Lee, MD who works as a dermatologist with Providence St. John’s Health Center, it is more important for people with psoriasis to get proper exercise than it is for people without the skin condition. You may not know that people who have psoriasis tend to be overweight, or to become overweight. The added pounds cause the condition to actually be worsened and a vicious cycle begins.

People who have psoriasis have a higher than average risk of cardiovascular diseases and conditions. Exercising will help these individuals to maintain a healthy weight, and to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin. The symptoms of psoriasis are red patches of dry, flaky skin that are usually on the person’s face, palms, elbows, knees, scalp, back, or feet.

Psoriasis happens when the immune system that is supposed to attack germs and bacteria that would cause us to get sick begins to attack healthy skin cells. More than seven million people in the United States live with this condition.

Psoriasis and Exercise

Most people with this skin condition avoid exercising because they are either embarrassed about their skin, or they fear sweating and the pain it may cause on the affected areas. The following tips can help you to keep your skin healthy, keep your pain to a minimum, and keep exercising for your health.

  • Wear loose fitting clothes when you exercise. The friction of garments can cause the symptoms of psoriasis to be worse than normal. Choose loose fitting garments, and use sweat absorbing powders under breasts and on thighs to absorb excess moisture and prevent chafing. After you work out moisturize your skin, especially in the sensitive areas.
  • A large number of people who have psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis. For this reason, you want to do low impact aerobic exercises. The low impact exercises are easier on the joints of the body and they still provide cardiovascular benefits.
  • Consider applying a layer of moisturizer like petroleum jelly to affected areas before you engage in activities like swimming in pools that are chlorinated. This will help prevent the chlorine from drying out your skin.
  • The rays of the sun can help to clear up psoriasis flare ups, but you do not want to overexpose your skin and allow it to burn, because skin damage can happen quickly. Wear protective sunscreen on affected areas, and work yourself up to the maximum sun exposure you can stand. Start with only five to ten minute intervals and then slowly increase your exposure to affected areas.
  • Skin infections are real concerns for people with psoriasis. Many people avoid the gyms because they fear exposure to bacteria that will cause skin infections. You do not need to avoid the gym. You simply need to use an anti-bacterial wipe and wipe the surface of the equipment down before you use it.
  • After you bathe apply moisturizer while your skin is still wet so it will absorb more deeply.