Why Psoriasis And Exercise Are A Perfect Combination?

Why Psoriasis And Exercise Are A Perfect Combination?

Well isn’t the start to my stress management month turning out to be a right pickle! I have a flight back to visit my family in Ireland at 11am tomorrow and seem to have left myself short on time to write my usual detailed blog post. It’s quite ironic that I am stressed out about completing this post on stress management before I go on holidays for a week! I think I will write for 2 hours and then press post and knock the power off on the computer and get into the holiday mood. Why psoriasis is a catch 22 when it comes to high stress levels There are certain things about having psoriasis that can cause you to stress which in turn makes your psoriasis worse and hence the catch 22 situation.
  • the actual physical appearance and especially what you think other people perceive of you
  • the physical pain associated with moderate to severe psoriasis can increase stress levels
  • the financial burden of treating moderate to severe psoriasis is always a factor

I believe the main one out of the 3 listed above is the first one, the anxiety caused in your own head about what people are thinking and saying about you. No matter how strong you believe you are, it always hurts when people pin point your faults. It’s not our fault we have psoriasis and at times we can feel very hard done by and miserable. But it shouldn’t always have to be like that.

Personal experience of stress and psoriasis 

Only 30 days ago I could feel myself spiraling a bit out of control. I wasn’t sleeping well, I was anxious and couldn’t concentrate at work. I hadn’t experienced this since I was MTX which is a few years ago. I then realized that I was pushing my limits to the extreme. I overdosed not just on alcohol over the festive season, but I loaded up on so much sugary crap that I am usually so good at avoiding. Even my girlfriend commented on my frantic festive fructose flavored feasts and she was highly impressed by my bulldozing through boxes of chocolates my favorite Aunt had sent me for Christmas. Not only that but I ran out of my favorite multi-vitamins as they were out of stock. I started to use some sub par ones called Wellman multi-vitamin for men but I would not recommend. On top of that I was moved into a brand new role in the company I work for which meant more responsibility.  I knew the role could be done comfortably but still you get this eerie type feeling that you are not good enough and failure is only a step away. I have a massive fear of failure which I still don’t really understand to this day. This also lead to extra stress levels and definitely added to my queasy feeling. Eventually my skin reacted to the added stress and the bad diet and I got a bad flare up on my stomach and a bit around the hairline. So this called for action.

  1. All candy gone, no sugar treats bar 1 or 2 pieces of fruit a day
  2. Bentonite and psyllium husk detox daily
  3. Dairy limited (100ml of light milk a day max)
  4. Finally got my super strength Multi Vitamins back 1 week ago (It’s great to see my urine luminous again!)
  5. Omega 3 fish oils and tumeric supplements before food to reduce inflammation
  6. Multi digestive enzymes after any protein meal
  7. Signed up for a half marathon and went training 3 times a week
  8. Refilled on my extra virgin coconut oil

Results Skin back to pink shade after 3 weeks. Not sore anymore, road to recovery has started. Main benefit other than my skin starting to heal is the mental benefits of eating well and exercising. Other things I have noted which I believe is down to these relatively simple changes

  • jumping out of bed in the morning
  • working long hours in new job and absolutely loving it
  • taking on another project outside of work and loving that too
  • learning new tools to take my fundamental web design to the next level
  • reading lots of business books and listening to podcasts trying to expand my knowledge of this area
  • having tons of business ideas that I want to pursue in the next year or two that are based around one of my favorite past times.

So that is the great side effects of exercising and eating well for me personally. The only negative thing I can say is that I aggravated an old back injury when I was working on increasing my running time last week. I was up to the 8km mark and comfortable at it too. I am hoping the pain will subside and I can get back out there soon. I will also try a new electric acupressure device I bought that arrived today. Looks a bit complicated so might get my techy girlfriend to read the manual first! Ok enough about me, let’s dive into some facts about exercise and depression and why it can help

What Are the Psychological Benefits of Exercise With Depression?

The main psychological benefit of regular exercise is the massive improvement in your self esteem. Everyone has heard of endorphin which is a chemical that is release by your body through exercise. They tell your brain to reduce your perception of pain. Awesome ain’t it! Endorphin s act similarly to morphine. That is while people love running as they experience a high known simply as runners high – quite unoriginal I know! Even though this chemical acts as a pain reliever and a sedative, they do not lead to addiction So if you are wondering why should you take up regular exercise as a stress management technique then check out these proven reasons:

  • Lower stress
  • Keep off anxiety and depression
  • Jump start your self-esteem
  • Greatly improve sleep

In America, Doctors are too quick to prescribe drugs for mental illness’. However in my opinion, it should be the last resort and everyone should be prescribed regular exercise first. OK, if that doesn’t work then fair enough, then it is time to try some medication

From a physical point of view, regular exercise gives these general health benefits:
  • strengthens your heart.
  • increases energy levels.
  • lowers blood pressure.
  • improves muscle tone and strength.
  • strengthens and builds bones.
  • helps reduce body fat.
  • makes you look fit and healthy.

Where to start with psoriasis and exercise

There is an issue I think a lot of psoriasis sufferers go through when they think about starting an exercise routine

  • You are afraid to join a gym because you do not want your psoriasis on display

Have no fear, I have been there and done that! Therefore consider the following options

For the beginner

Try out the Couch to 5km program that is very popular for people who have not exercised in donkey’s years. You can do it on your own and you can do it outside in the open, where you get the added benefits of some Vitamin D3 if the sun is out! It basically trains you to run 5km at a reasonable time within 9 weeks. All that is required is 20-30 mins 3 times a week. For more free info check out C25k.com

For the Novice/intermediate runner

I class myself in this group so for this I recommend doing a half marathon. Try and give yourself at least 12 weeks to do it, but it is possible to do it in 8 weeks if you stay disciplined. I think I hurt my back as I was trying to push for a sub 2 hour half marathon so be careful not to push it too hard at first. Check out this beginner 10 week training plan or visit runners world here.

For the expert/Fitness Junkie

I was going to add something here but in all honesty if you are already a fitness junkie then more than likely your psoriasis is under control or at least in a mild state. Plus I am not a fitness expert so feels remiss of me to recommend an expert fitness program when I have no experience.

Strength conditioning for beginners

I can recommend kettlebells and kettlebell training if you want to build up some upper body strength from the privacy of your own home. You can also do some really fast high intensity training in 10 minute bouts each day that will help you de – stress like a boss! You should get some proper training if you do decide to use it, as it will make your training more efficient and ensure that you do not injure yourself. Check out a cool kettlebell training plan by clicking Here!


I hope the above helps motivate you to start exercising. If you are unable to run, try some other exercises or activities that require less impact but offer more fun. Dancing would be one such activity. The next post in my stress management month for psoriasis will discuss finding your single motivating purpose in life. This was a breakthrough moment for me that changed my mindset for ever.

John Redfern