Living with Psoriasis, psoriasis

Exercising Again & My Heart Loves It

My running shoes started getting more use recently with interval workouts in the neighborhood.

Since around Thanksgiving I started exercising regularly again. That’s when I bought my first Apple Watch with great workout tracking features, including GPS. I never liked running with my phone. A sad excuse for not exercising.

I hate to admit that I let my body go with bad health habits. I didn’t just stop exercising regularly, I slept too late and too little, and ate too much fast and junk food. Over time I noticed the effects–rising blood pressure, weight gain, moodiness, lack of energy, and disliking myself.

I’m still not sure if psoriasis improves with exercise, as I used to be fit while still with flaring psoriasis. But when I went to the AAD medical meeting, I received a healthy dose of motivation to revive healthy habits. I’m at the age where my heart and overall health starts to go, and psoriasis doesn’t help with the attendant inflammation. More and more studies show the impact of severe psoriasis on lifespan too–up to five years. That’s sobering.

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Apple Watch Activity Levels March 2017

After the AAD meeting I started running intervals about every other day. Not soon after, my daughter Lydia started running intervals with me. On off days I go for a walk, use the rowing machine at a slow pace for about 20 minutes, or take a rest day.

The screen shot shows my Apple Watch Activity levels for March 2017–closed circles show progress and daily goals reached. The outer circle measures calories burned (current goal 500 calories), the middle exercise minutes (set by Apple for 30 minutes), and the inner circle highlights hours standing with a daily goal of 12 hours. Overall it’s the best month I’ve had, with 15 workouts recorded.

Here’s the interval workout routine:

  1. Stretch and use inhaler (for asthma)
  2. Slow jog one minute, then fast walk for a minute and a half
  3. Start around 9-10 intervals of running for one minute (~6:30-7:30 min/mile pace), then resting for 1:30-2:00
  4. Cool down with final slow jog, 5-10 minute walk, and stretching

Overall the workout takes about 35 minutes–up to an hour with stretching and walking.

I now sleep with my Apple Watch and can look at my sleeping habits and quality. My resting heart rate is the best sign that my workouts are improving my heart health. Over the past month it dropped ten beats per minute. My blood pressure also dropped down into normal range.

My body and heart love the exercise–and just maybe I’ll need less medication to control my psoriasis too if there’s less inflammation in my body overall. That’s the hope.

For more on exercise and psoriasis, check out my recent Everyday Health column Get Off the Couch! Exercise Can Help Your Psoriasis.