Adding a fitness routine to your life can be beneficial for your mental health as well as your physical health. Psoriasis raises your risk of developing other illnesses — such as heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome — so exercise is especially important. Try these 10 tips for getting — and staying — active.
Go easy at first
When beginning an exercise regimen, you don’t need to commit to a marathon at the get-go. Start slowly. Set your alarm for 15 or 30 minutes earlier than usual so you can incorporate a brisk walk or at-home yoga session into your morning routine.
Buy the right shoes
Having the right pair of walking, running, or fitness shoes is vital to maximizing your workouts. Shoes that don’t fit correctly can lead to muscular imbalances, raising the risk of foot, knee, and hip injuries. Ask an employee at a sporting-goods store to help you find the right fit.
Update your workout clothes
Lightweight fabrics such as dri-fit, jersey, or nylon allow your skin to breathe, which is exactly what people with psoriasis need. (Cotton absorbs sweat, which can make you feel clammy and is not good for your skin.)
Set out your clothes ahead of time
If you like to get your workout done in the morning, be prepared by laying everything out the night before. If you exercise after work, have your clothes ready and waiting for you when you get home. If you have to search for your workout clothes, you might decide to skip exercising altogether!
Water does a body good. And we all know that people with psoriasis have to work extra hard to stay hydrated, as our TNF cells reproduce three times faster than those of people who don’t have psoriasis. Staying hydrated keeps moisture in the skin and may reduce flakiness.
Grab a buddy
Having a workout pal holds you accountable, plus it makes your workouts more fun! Who doesn’t want that? Ask your significant other. Go for a walk on your lunch break with your coworkers. Need some motivation to get started? The National Psoriasis Foundation’s Patient Navigation Center is a great resource.
Join your local gym
Don’t let joining a gym intimidate you. Most offer a variety of classes, like yoga or Pilates, that can be easy on your joints— great for those with psoriatic arthritis. Most YMCAs host a family night or offer free or discounted classes on specific days.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Use that as a baseline. This can be anything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to walking on your lunch breaks to doing household chores. The more you move, the better you feel.
Don’t give up
If you miss your morning walk or can’t meet your friend for that exercise class after work, it’s OK. Life happens. Just get back into your workout routine as soon as you can.