Video: Want to Prevent Psoriasis? Exercise More

A new study finds fitness benefits for your skin

Exercise and skin health

You know exercise builds strong muscles and a healthy heart, but did you know it also may keep your skin healthy?

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A new study finds women who vigorously exercise may decrease their risk of psoriasis. Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Melissa Piliang, MD, did not take part in the study but says the results make sense.


“We know that psoriasis is a systemic disease,” Dr. Piliang says. “There is systemic inflammation involved, and we know that patients with psoriasis are at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. We also know that to prevent diabetes and heart disease, exercise helps. So, if you put all of that together, it does make sense that if you exercise, you would have a lower risk of systemic inflammation and lower risk of psoriasis.”

Psoriasis is an immunologic disorder characterized by systematic inflammation and scaling of the skin. In the past, physical activity has been linked to a decrease in the risk of other disorders caused by systematic inflammation, including type-2 diabetes, colon cancer, and coronary artery disease.

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Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked for a similar association between exercise and psoriasis. They did so by analyzing data on nearly 87,000 women. Results show the most physically active women reduced their risk of psoriasis by as much as 25 percent to 30 percent.

Researchers say running 105 minutes per week or performing regular aerobic exercise should suffice, but they add that the intensity of the exercise may matter most.

Dr. Piliang says this may be a new preventive measure for women at high risk of developing psoriasis.

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“If you have psoriasis in your family, you should exercise,” she says. “And it’s not just walking or riding a bike, or even swimming. It was vigorous aerobic exercise — running, aerobics, and callisthenic-type exercises that decreased the risk of psoriasis.”

The results of this study are in the Archives or Dermatology.

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