Person stretching in a gym with plaque psoriasis open and covering their arms. In the background there are eyes popping up watching them

Journey in the Gym

Last updated: November 2019

A little while ago I wrote about my journey in the gym. I was starting completely new and working through everything that came with it. It has been an interesting journey and one that I am still on.

Tips for working out at the gym with psoriasis

Finding ways to make it less stressful for me has been key to getting up and going again. I find that the workouts are helping with my daily movement and I certainly feel that I am moving easier. I rest the days I am too sore or too tired and I no longer push harder than I am supposed to. I show up every day without fail. Showing up, even if I just get changed and ride the stationary bicycle for 10 minutes, is a commitment to my health. There are people who will say that it's not enough, I say it is better than not showing up at all.

Changing clothes at the gym

A lot of people are shy to change in front of others. We may have body confidence issues or just simply feel uncomfortable. Personally, I find gym changing rooms intimidating and not just because of the fabulous bodies that walk around in there. Goodness knows there are many of those. For me, the intimidation comes from their sheer comfort, to actually be able to be in that okay in their own skin. I think I may forever be the woman who changes in the loo cubicle, or even better, won't change at the gym at all.

Handling stares at the gym

People are going to stare. I am trying to make peace with it albeit a very difficult task. A nice trick is to have a shirt printed for the gym with some clever wording. Something along the lines of: "I have multiple autoimmune conditions, what’s your superpower?" Or "I still show up every day even when my body tries to stop me with psoriatic arthritis."

While some people chose to hide in the shadows, my skin is always visible. I wear short sleeves and my arms are often the most covered with psoriasis. A shirt could help answer the questions and often curb the staring too. For the rest of them, I am sure to catch them staring at some point and make sure to be really friendly and smile.

Finding comfortable gym clothing

This is something I cannot stress enough, comfortable clothing is the most important part of all of this for me. Feeling okay in what you are wearing is liberating. Choosing a fabric that is not going to aggravate your skin is essential. Despite the obvious issue of comfort, your clothing choice will also reduce your anxiety about your whole gym visit. Your weight will be lifted by not needing to worry about your skin having a meltdown. My first gym session, I had lycra pants on and I had to stop halfway. Honestly, I felt as if my legs were going to spontaneously combust. Fast-forward and one new pair of pants later, things are going much better.

I also found good quality shoes and socks to be a great investment. Socks with bamboo seem to breathe easier and help keep my feet cool. This is essential when I have inflammation and my body temperature is running high.

Using pools and steam rooms at the gym

The pools at the gym are simply not an option for me as the chemicals used to keep the water clean are simply the worst thing for my skin. Steam rooms are okay, although, through personal choice, I choose not to use them. Breathing in hot air is not something that I am a fan of.

So if going to the gym is something that you want to do, find ways to make it work for you. Never feel guilty for how you choose to do things.

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