Why I Don't Like Gyms

Gyms have never made much sense to me. You pay an exorbitant amount of money to ride a bike that goes nowhere, which makes you sweaty in the company of lots of other sweaty people that are silently comparing themselves to you. Maybe it is because I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and am an outdoorsy fellow, but whatever way you spin it, I just can’t understand it.

Regardless, my wife seems to like them so I have been dragged to more than my fair share of gyms more times than I would like. Here is a breakdown of my experience and why they’re not my cup of tea (or protein shake).

Everything is public

Every area of the gym is pretty public from the locker rooms to the weights floor, so being comfortable with your skin is basically a requirement. Most of us with psoriasis have gotten pretty used to stares, but in a gym, the focus is on physical physique so stares seem more daunting. Plus, community showers are pretty terrible even when you don’t have lesions covering your body.

Sweat suits

Because of the high concentration of people in a small space, I always tend to wear long sleeves and pants at the gym. I would rather not try to explain to staring eyes that they don’t have to sanitize the machine multiple times after I get off it. It’s not contagious! I know the idea is to sweat, but when you start out with sweat stains soaking your clothes before you even jump on a machine—that’s a problem.

It burns

Sweat burns; and no I don’t mean the good kind of burn. Even when my skin is mostly clear, I still have a tendency to have cracks in my skin where the plaques used to be. When that salty sweat gets into those open crevices-Yowzer! It really hurts.

Sensitive skin

I am convinced that the stuff the hand weights are made of is the same stuff that belt buckles and watches are made of, which is basically my kryptonite. Every time that shiny metal rubs up against my skin as I am feebly attempting to lift the weights it makes me itch and flare.

Find what works for you

Ok, Ok. I know I am giving gyms a bad rap, but really it doesn’t matter where you exercise as long as you are getting your heart pumping. In my experience, it is hard to get myself to get out and move-it move-it, but when I do I feel SO much better. The great thing is that you don’t have to do extreme squats or pound hundreds of pounds of metal to get benefits. Even though I haven’t been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I have a lot of back and joint pain. That is why I find walking to be the best form of exercise for me. It is easy on my joints and gets those endorphins flowing.

Bottom line: in a gym or not, exercise is really important. Just having a psoriasis diagnosis makes me at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Add on top of that the fact that I have a family history of early heart attacks—and you can see why I need to have a strong heart! Stay strong my friends.

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