According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, stress is a common trigger for a psoriasis flare. Inflammation is the body’s way to cope with stress. In those of us with psoriasis, the immune system over-responds to stress and sends out too many chemicals that cause inflammation. One of the best and most fun ways to reduce stress is play. For example, in a study of young adults, it was found that playful individuals reported lower levels of perceived stress than their less playful counterparts.
Here are some ways play reduces stress and offers some other benefits for psoriasis.
Active play and psoriasis
Any type of play that involves exercise helps anxiety and depression, both of which have a higher prevalence among those living with psoriasis than those without psoriasis. Anxiety and depression have a direct negative impact on psoriasis, creating a negative cycle. According to the American Psychological Association, the evidence is piling up on the benefits of exercise on mood. One way experts know physical activity is beneficial is that active people are less depressed than inactive people.
Playing a sport also keeps you physically active and helps with successful weight maintenance, which is very important for psoriasis. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, obesity and heart disease are two of the most common health conditions that are related to psoriasis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity can lower your risk for heart disease.
Social support and play
Psoriasis can have a negative impact on your social life and has been associated with social isolation. If you have psoriasis, you may withdraw from activities because you feel ashamed or embarrassed. Play can help you develop a network of friends to lean on when you need them. It is easier to form relationships with those who share your similar interests. Joining a golf group, exercise class, or outdoor club can help you get together with other people on a regular schedule.
Outdoor play and sunlight
If you have psoriasis, short, multiple exposures to sunlight are recommended. Playing outside is a great way to get the sunlight your skin loves. Biking, hiking, and boating can be both fun and therapeutic. Avoid sunburn and remember to wear sunscreen on the areas of your skin without psoriasis. Check out these playful outdoor ideas.