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Should I exercise if I’m struggling with a skin problem?

We all know exercise is great for cardiovascular health but it can compromise your immune system.

So is exercising a good idea if you are struggling with a skin disease such as eczema or psoriasis or perhaps another autoimmune disease?

This is a question many people ask me and I honestly have struggled with knowing the right answer for years.

It wasn’t until a few years ago, I discovered I had insulin resistance. The best approach to reduce insulin resistance was to eat small amounts of low GI carbohydrates. In doing so, I noticed an immediate reduction of inflammation in my body and more interestingly was my reaction to exercise. Before my change in diet, I would feel more inflamed after exercise (usually a group fitness class) and if I pushed myself with 3-4 session per week, a flare up of psoriasis often followed.

So here are 2 recommendation I have for anyone with skin concerns (especially those which affect most of the body limiting ease of movement):

  1. If your psoriasis/eczema etc is covering a large portion of your body, making it difficult to move with ease, then simply walking for short periods of time will be helpful in promoting circulation in the body and essentially helping with reducing inflammation.
  2. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet. People with psoriasis (greater 3% of the body affected) should attempt to reduce insulin resistance by reducing carbohydrate intake and exercising regularly. It doesn’t need to be excessive and intense, actually I would recommend increasing the intensity gradually to encourage your continued commitment to it. It will help with improving your skin complaints and improve your overall health.

Exercise comes in many forms; resistance training is great to reduce insulin resistance, cardio improves cardiovascular health and fitness, yoga/Pilates improve core strength and tone your muscles. A combination of these are great, choose according to what your body feels it needs in that specific moment.

Obviously, each person’s circumstances are unique to them so either move at a slow pace if you are unsure or seek the guidance of a healthcare practitioner to help you through this process.

I would love to know your experiences with exercising while managing a skin condition or another auto-immune disease. Wasn’t it beneficial? Did it flare up your condition? Which exercises work/worked best for you?

If this has been helpful, share it amongst your friends via social media. A problem shared is a problem halved. Irene