Psoriasis Journey, Tips

Exercise and Psoriasis: How to Stay Active Without Aggravating Your Skin

Living with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune condition characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin, can make exercise challenging. However, regular physical activity is essential for overall health and can even help manage psoriasis symptoms by reducing stress and promoting a healthy immune system. Here’s how to stay active without aggravating your skin.

Benefits of Exercise for Psoriasis

Engaging in regular physical activity offers numerous benefits for those with psoriasis:

  • Reduces Inflammation: Exercise can help reduce systemic inflammation, which is beneficial for managing psoriasis.
  • Improves Mental Health: Physical activity releases endorphins, which can alleviate stress and improve mood, both of which are crucial as stress can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
  • Enhances Cardiovascular Health: People with psoriasis are at a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, and regular exercise can help mitigate this risk.
  • Supports Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the severity of psoriasis symptoms.

Choosing the Right Type of Exercise

Selecting the appropriate type of exercise is key to staying active without irritating your skin. Here are some psoriasis-friendly options:

Low-Impact Exercises

Low-impact exercises reduce stress on your joints and skin, making them ideal for people with psoriasis.

  • Walking: A simple, low-impact activity that can be done anywhere. Start with short walks and gradually increase your distance.
  • Swimming: Swimming in chlorinated pools or saltwater can help remove dead skin and soothe itching. Just be sure to moisturize your skin afterward.
  • Cycling: Whether on a stationary bike or outdoors, cycling is an excellent cardiovascular workout that’s gentle on the skin.
  • Yoga: Yoga combines physical activity with relaxation techniques, which can help reduce stress and improve flexibility without straining your skin.

Strength Training

Strength training helps build muscle and improve overall fitness without excessive skin friction.

  • Bodyweight Exercises: Push-ups, squats, and lunges are effective and can be done at home without equipment.
  • Resistance Bands: These provide a good workout with minimal skin irritation compared to heavy weights.
  • Light Weights: Start with lighter weights to reduce the risk of skin irritation and gradually increase as tolerated.

Tips for Exercising with Psoriasis

To minimize the risk of aggravating your skin while exercising, consider the following tips:

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Choosing the right workout attire can make a big difference.

  • Breathable Fabrics: Wear moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics to reduce sweat buildup, which can irritate the skin. Cotton and specialized athletic wear are good options.
  • Loose-Fitting Clothes: Avoid tight clothing that can rub against your skin and cause friction. Loose-fitting clothes can help prevent irritation.

Keep Skin Moisturized

Keeping your skin well-hydrated is crucial.

  • Pre-Exercise Moisturizing: Apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer before exercising to protect your skin barrier.
  • Post-Exercise Skincare: After your workout, shower promptly and moisturize again to replenish lost moisture and soothe your skin.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key for both overall health and skin health.

  • Drink Water: Ensure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to stay hydrated and support your skin’s health.

Monitor the Environment

The exercise environment can impact your skin’s reaction.

  • Climate Control: Exercise in a climate-controlled environment to avoid extreme temperatures that can trigger psoriasis flare-ups.
  • Outdoor Considerations: If exercising outdoors, choose times of day when the temperature is moderate, and always wear sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to how your body and skin respond to exercise.

  • Adjust Intensity: If you notice that certain activities exacerbate your symptoms, adjust the intensity or switch to a different type of exercise.
  • Take Breaks: Give your body time to recover, especially if you’re experiencing a flare-up. It’s okay to take a break or modify your workout routine as needed.

Consult Your Healthcare Provider

Before starting any new exercise regimen, consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have severe psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

  • Personalized Advice: Your doctor can provide personalized advice and recommend exercises that are safe and effective for your specific condition.
  • Monitor Progress: Regular check-ins can help monitor how your body is responding to the exercise routine and make necessary adjustments.


Exercise is an important component of managing psoriasis, offering benefits like reduced inflammation, improved mental health, enhanced cardiovascular health, and better weight management. By choosing the right types of exercise, wearing appropriate clothing, keeping your skin moisturized, staying hydrated, monitoring your environment, listening to your body, and consulting with your healthcare provider, you can stay active without aggravating your skin. Embrace a balanced exercise routine to improve your overall well-being and manage your psoriasis more effectively.


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