Psoriasis and Exercise: The Game Changer

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Simple Tips for Trigger-Free Exercise

What can you do to make exercise work for you? First, do all you can to avoid trauma to your skin.

  • To lessen friction, wear looser exercise clothing.
  • Gently shower right after you finish. "Don't rub and scrub," says Menter. "That can aggravate the psoriasis."
  • "Right before exercising, put lubricants in the areas that are likely to be irritated," says Menter. He suggests using a little bit of petroleum jelly in the groin and under the breasts. You can also sprinkle on sweat-absorbent powder.
  • At the first sign of a friction- or exercise-related flare-up, use topical medication to bring it quickly under control, says Menter. Talk with your doctor about this.

For better weight control, combine aerobic exercise and weight lifting, says Yamauchi. "Start gently with something like walking or light jogging. Then gradually build up your endurance and strength." And don't forget that diet and exercise go hand-in-hand to achieve better control of inflammation and weight. "There's no magic diet, but a heart-healthy, well-balanced diet that's low in processed and fatty foods is a good place to start," says Yamauchi.

If you have psoriatic arthritis, get inflammation under control before starting a new exercise program. Otherwise, pain and inflammation can make it harder to exercise, says Yamauchi. As a rule, though, the pain of psoriatic arthritis tends to get better with exercise, adds Menter.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on August 29, 2011

Sources

SOURCES:

Alan Menter, MD, chairman, division of dermatology, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas; clinical professor of dermatology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas; immediate past president, International Psoriasis Council.

Paul S. Yamauchi, MD, PhD, spokesman, National Psoriasis Association; medical director, Dermatology Institute and Skin Care Center of Santa Monica, Calif; clinical faculty member, division of dermatology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA.

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