4 Tips for Exercising with Psoriasis

Patient Expert

Don’t let psoriasis pull you away from your workout routine. For one thing, exercise has been linked to reducing inflammation, which, may, in turn, help keep your psoriasis in control. And there are so many other benefits, as well, including stress relief and maintaining a healthy weight. See your exercise routine as a necessary part of getting healthy and improving your psoriasis and you’ll be that much more motivated to go! Here are four ways to avoid discomfort and stay on track:

Avoid cotton clothing

Cotton will chafe your skin and it doesn't absorb sweat. Go for a synthetic shirt with nothing printed on the material; printed areas of fabrics can be thick or scratchy and may rub and chafe your skin. Synthetic shirts will let your skin breathe, absorb your sweat, and avoid the chafing that punishes us psoriasis folks.

Listen to your body

Choose exercises that are kind to your skin. Often, doing sit-ups can hurt if you have a bad flare-up on your back, but don’t give up. There are many alternatives to sit-ups that don’t require lying on your back. Try leg raises or a plank. If it hurts to bend your elbow because of a plaque there, change up your routine from lifting upper body weights to cardio, such as walking or jogging on the treadmill.

Slather on the sunscreen

Running and walking are great ways to get cardio exercise because they require no equipment—all you have to do is put on your sneakers and walk out the door. While being outside in the sun can heal our painful psoriasis spots, it can also harm you in extremely painful ways. I’ve been burned many times (pun intended) by the sun and it is no fun. The burn has immediate repercussions and possible long-term consequences too, in the form of skin cancer. Wearing sunscreen will protect your skin, while also allowing the benefits of the sunlight on your psoriasis.

Track progress to build confidence

Create a set plan for working out and keep a detailed diary of your progress. While training for my marathons, I find it is crucial to keep logs of my runs and see the progress I am making. It builds confidence and motivates me to work harder. Set aside time after your workouts to record how much you lifted, ran, or stretched. The more you push towards your goals and continue to progress, the more fit and healthy you’ll be!