Exercise is an important part of living healthfully with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. This Psoriasis Awareness Month, we're challenging you to take small steps everyday to live healthier. If you've ever considered starting a running routine, but didn't know where to begin, this post is for you!
The idea of being a runner appealed to me long before I ever tried on my first pair of running shoes. How exactly did runners actually like to, well, run for miles? Didn’t they get side stitches? (As I did, back in junior high during gym class runs.) And was the so-called runner’s high an actual real thing? These were the kinds of things I wondered, as I listened to friends talk about the sport and saw people huffing and puffing on sidewalks and along shoulders of roads I drove.
Mostly I wondered, could I be a runner?
I started and stopped running more than a few times before it really stuck. After two kids and a gym membership, I discovered I was pregnant with our third baby. For the first time, I exercised throughout pregnancy (though not yet running), and I felt strong. Very strong. I gained a healthy amount of pregnancy weight, far less than my previous pregnancies, and I felt ready to return to exercise several weeks after giving birth.
It wasn't too long after that when I decided to become a runner, once and for all.
About a decade later, I'm still running. I've had my highs and lows with this sport – there were a couple of years when I didn't run much at all because of kids and work and, well, life – but slowly, gradually it became more than an exercise routine; It became a way of life, for myself as well as for my family. Running has helped me become the best version of myself. It's also a reminder of my own strength – mentally and physically – and this confidence helps me manage my psoriatic disease. Whether I'm in the midst of an all-out flare or I'm simply feeling down about not having clear skin, running is a constant in my life. I'm grateful for this outlet.
I encourage most anyone who expresses interest to take up running. It can change your life, in more ways than you can imagine, I tell them. I know it can be daunting and more than a little intimidating, though, to get started – and to stay at it. Here's what will help you become a runner – and find your best self:
Invest in a good pair of running shoes
The staff at local running speciality stores can help you find the right fit.
Take it nice and easy
Inject a few minutes of slow running into your walks, building up to longer stretches of running over time. Remember to listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard, too quickly.
Run with friends
You’ll feel motivated to keep running, especially in the beginning, when you get together with others. A running partner can prove invaluable, particularly when you’re getting out of your warm bed to run on dark and chilly mornings.
Join a beginning running class
If you’re feeling a bit intimidated about joining a running club (totally normal!) or simply want more information about this sport, consider signing on for a new-to-running class. Many local running shops offer beginner classes and host training groups. An online search of running clubs in your area also can help match you with fellow runners.
Consider signing on for a race
Every year more and more races pop up across the country, in small towns and metropolitan areas. Signing up for your first race, like a fun 5K run/walk, can keep you on track with a consistent running routine. You’ll also have a blast meeting other runners and soaking up the race vibe. Warning: you’ll likely become hooked on the race experience.
Got PsA? Running not an option?
You can still be active. Check out tips for safely hitting the gym with psoriatic arthritis.
Thank you to our Psoriasis Awareness Month Partners: AbbVie, Amgen, Janssen Biotech, Eli Lilly, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer.
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.