Psoriasis is one of the most common skin disorders around. A new health breakthrough discovered in adult women suggests we might have a great — and free — way to help prevent psoriasis. Exercise is at it again.
This is according to a new study published in the “Archives of Dermatology.”
Psoriasis is an immunologic disorder characterized by systemic inflammation and scaling of the skin. Physical activity has been associated with a decreased risk of disorders that cause widespread inflammation, including type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, coronary artery disease, and breast cancer. This is where we find the link for psoriasis.
The new study found that with at least 21 “metabolic equivalent task” hours of vigorous exercise per week, you could achieve a 25% to 30% reduced risk of psoriasis. Now, this isn’t 21 actual hours; it refers to the effects doing vigorous exercise exerts on the body. So, in reality, those 21 metabolic hours are the equivalent of 105 minutes running or 180 minutes swimming or playing tennis. The
reduced risk was compared against not participating in any vigorous exercise.
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Researchers in Bostondiscovered this link within the data provided by the long-running Nurses’ Health Study II. Their analysis included 86,665 women who did not have psoriasis at the start, in 1991. and who completed physical activity questionnaires in 1991, 1997 and 2001. There were 1,026 incident cases of psoriasis in that time.
They found that the most physically active women had a lower relative risk of psoriasis (0.72) compared with the least active. It should be noted that walking was not associated with a reduced risk of psoriasis, suggesting that indeed less rigorous activities will not shield you from this inflammatory condition.
The researchers found that only running and performing aerobic exercise or calisthenics were associated with a reduced risk of psoriasis. Interestingly, jogging, tennis, swimming and bicycling were not associated with psoriasis risk. They suggest that it is only the more intense activities that are linked here.
In addition to providing other health benefits, participation in vigorous exercise may represent a new preventive measure for women at high risk of developing psoriasis. More research is needed to address how this may be possible. For the time being, if you know you are at a higher risk of developing psoriasis, it may be time to take up a solid aerobic exercise campaign. If you have existing health problems or any injuries, talk to your doctor before taking up vigorous exercise.