If there's one thing I know for sure about living with psoriasis, it's that I'm best able to deal with this disease when I'm maintaining an active lifestyle. My mind thanks me, and my body most definitely feels the benefits. I'm fairly certain my skin is clearer when I'm consistently exercising.
Yes, psoriasis can be tricky; just when we think we've found the way to treat our skin, a flare decides to behave otherwise and we're left searching for another treatment option. This can happen even when we believe we're eating well, getting plenty of rest and incorporating regular walks, runs, bike rides and other forms of exercise into our life.
Still, I'm a firm believer that the better we are to ourselves, the more likely we're able to manage our psoriasis. Exercise helps battle stress, which we all know doesn't mix well with autoimmune diseases. And in some cases, excess weight can worsen psoriasis symptoms, so maintaining a healthy weight may help prevent flare-ups.
A few ideas to jump-start your exercise routine - or if you're already in a groove, to keep you motivated:
• Sign up for a race. There's nothing like a date on the calendar to get you moving. Consider a 5k walk or run in your area (or if you want to get out of town, plan a destination race for your next family vacation or friend getaway). Race season is in full swing now, with plenty of running, walking and biking events to choose from throughout the summer and into the fall. Check your local running store for listings. If you're new to running, ask the store manager about a "Couch to 5k" or beginner running classes they may offer.
• Exercise with others. Working out with friends is a smart, fun way to stay on track because you'll help keep one another accountable. Been thinking about trying Zumba, hot yoga or a spinning class? Ask a friend to join you. There's a cool kind of friendship that forms between people who sweat it out together, and let's face it, chatting with friends can help the time go by faster when you're pushing through a particularly tough workout.
• Never underestimate the power of new workout wear. There's something about donning a new tank and running skirt that makes getting out of bed in the morning for a run much easier. I love the active lifestyle clothing made by Athleta and Lululemon, but because they're on the pricier side, I invest in just a couple key pieces. I've found reasonably-priced pieces at my local running store - I watch for sales - as well as at places like Target. Don't rule out second-hand boutiques either; I've found quality, gently-used items at my favorite shop in my city.
What keeps you motivated to stay fit and healthy? Share your tips here, I'd love to hear!