Physical activity is important for your overall health and especially so if you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and lowers your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

U.S. fitness guidelines recommend you get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week, plus additional strength training. If time is an issue, spread your activity during the day with three 10-minute blocks of moderate to vigorous activity.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a long, boring workout. Pick an activity you enjoy as you are more likely to stick with it.

If you are in pain from psoriatic arthritis, you might want to begin your exercise program in water. The water’s buoyancy can prevent you from putting stress on your hips, knees and spine but allow you to build strength.

Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Ask your doctor, instructor or physical therapist about how to adapt for your skin condition or psoriatic arthritis. If you have psoriatic arthritis, you want to avoid activities that involve prolonged standing or walking. Exercises for psoriatic arthritis are shown at the end of the blog.

Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever

We have already mentioned that stress is a huge trigger for psoriasis. Keeping stress levels to a minimum will benefit your body by decreasing chances of psoriasis flares. Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.

Physical activity helps create endorphins which are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Focusing on your exercise will take your mind away from other everyday things and will help your body relax. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, relax you, and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Here are some tips to get more exercise into your day:

  1. Schedule 10-minute breaks in your planner or calendar and go for a short walk.
  2. Sitting at your desk? Do ankle rolls, heel/toe raises and knee lifts every hour or so.
  3. Watching TV? Do stretches and floor exercises or walk when commercials come on.
  4. Park further from the entrance when you go to work, shopping or doctor’s appointments. Do not use the drive-by ATM at the bank. Get out of the car and walk to the ATM.
  5. Take the stairs rather than the elevator.

Hygiene is important!

Your exercise area needs to be clean. If you got a gym, make sure that the area is properly ventilated, that it as shower facilities and plenty of fresh, clean towels. Good solution is to exercise within the comfort and privacy of your own home. That way you know the area is clean and to your maximum comfort. You can set the air temperature to your liking and you choose the most suitable music. Afterwards you can immediately take a shower to rinse off the sweat. Just make sure the water is cold or lukewarm, as hot water tends to dry out the skin.

In case you prefer going to gyms or training halls, just remember to bring your own personal care products that work best for your sensitive skin, use plenty of body lotion.

For showering you should always use products which are natural and without steroids, so you won’t damage your skin. That’s why it is recommended to use Naftalan Shampoo for showering your scalp and entire body:

Naftalan shampoo is great because it can be used daily, without any restrictions. Just apply the shampoo into the scalp or body and leave it to work for 3 – 5 minutes. Wash thoroughly.

If you like to exercise outside, be careful about the sun intensity, make sure your skin is well protected as the combination of sweat and direct sunlight can damage your skin. During summertime, avoid peak hours when the sun is the strongest and always wear sunblock.

Water is your friend

Always make sure you are well hydrated, intake plenty of water before each exercise and make sure you keep drinking while doing the exercise.

PRO TIP: Bring extra bottles of water to also rinse off the sweat. In case your sweat starts burning you, rinse it off with fresh water, just as you would after a bath or shower, gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel. Be careful not to dry out your body completely after a workout and shower. Pat, don’t wipe, your skin dry with a towel. Get 90 percent of your body dry, then let it air-dry. Before going out, apply a thin layer of cream or oil which will maintain the hydration level of your skin and guard your skin from drying.

We recommend Naftalan Cream or Oil

That way you will maintain your skin hydration levels and prevent further skin problems.

Avoid Spandex, use cotton fabrics

Spandex is a synthetic fabric that is prized for its elasticity. It is also known as Lycra, elastane. This fabric can stretch to 5-8 times its normal size, and it is commonly used in form-fitting consumer apparel (underwear, sportswear & exercise clothing, and suits.

Spandex is a fully synthetic fiber; no organic components are used to make this material. Instead, all the constituent parts of this fiber are made in a laboratory setting, and they are then combined under specific stimuli to create spandex fabric. Since it is not a natural fabric, it is not recommended to be used on sensitive skin.

Spandex can irritate your skin, cause it to rash, and even bleed. Form-fitting workout clothes also trap in sweat which is not good. Skin needs to be able to breathe!

When exercising we recommend you wear cotton and natural fabrics. Also don’t be afraid to show your skin. If you have psoriasis you might tend to wear clothes with long sleeves to hide affected skin, but this will only cause your body temperature to go up and make your sweat more. Wear light and comfortable clothes and feel good about yourself!

Importance of rest

Rest days are just as important as exercise. In fact, a successful fitness regimen isn’t complete without rest days. Taking regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair. It’s a critical part of progress, regardless of your fitness level or sport. Otherwise, skipping rest days can lead to overtraining or burnout. Rest is necessary for avoiding exercise-induced fatigue.

A rest day isn’t about being lazy on the couch. It’s during this time that the beneficial effects of exercise take place. Specifically, rest is essential for muscle growth.

Sleeping well increases your energy, improve your attitude, and increases your ability to concentrate and react, both physically and mentally.

When resting, try to really disconnect, don’t watch shows on a computer or TV or do things which put your brain into work mode. Do something that really rests your entire body and focus on your breathing. Try to listen to how you breathe. It is a good trick to get your mind off other things and focus on the rest itself.

If you are in a flare keep your exercise to a minimum

Skin flaring often comes unannounced and it mostly is uninventable. During those periods you should try avoiding or keeping your exercises to a minimum. The reason is to keep your body from sweating which can worsen the flare and make your skin irritated even further.

Try doing simpler exercises instead of your complete exercise routine. You like to run? Try walking instead with increased intensity.

Most important is to listen to your body, how it responds to your exercise regime is the best way to know if you should keep doing your exercise or change to something different. If you can’t find an exercise that works during your flare, then don’t force it. Wait for the flare to pass then start to build your exercise intensity slowly.

Is your skin flaring? Wash your body with water and apply Naftalan Cream with Urea. Urea is a keratolytic, it helps with the skin thickening, as it gently dissolves the intercellular matrix and removes dead, thickened and dry layers of the skin:

It will stop the itching, repair skin structure, regenerate skin cells and help with skin hydration.

Additional: Motion Exercises for Psoriatic Arthritis

When you have psoriatic arthritis, you should perform range-of-motion exercises regularly to help you maintain your flexibility and prevent you from getting too stiff.