Eczema and Exercising - A Vicious Circle
Last updated: February 2021
In 2019, I joined my local gym in a bid to get fit with the ultimate goal of improving my asthma and eczema. I didn't feel the need to become super fit or anything. To be totally honest, I never thought I had the ability to anyhow. My asthma was and still is way too bad. I'm totally reliant upon my Seretide and Ventolin inhalers. Waking up each morning feeling sluggish and sore from my atopic dermatitis was bringing me down, and this was the impetus that got me to the gym.
My gym routine
My set routine included two lots of ten minutes on the exercise bike, the cross-trainer, and rowing machine. To say it was a gentle workout would be a massive understatement. The doctor advised me to take my blue inhaler (Ventolin) before and after my workout, if necessary, and this helped greatly. After, I would race home and jump into the shower. Unfortunately, my gym did not have a soft water system which is why I showered at home being fortunate enough to have one installed.
Pain caused by the sweating
The drive back from the gym is about seven minutes max. Annoyingly, that seven-minute window was enough time for me to wrench my sodden skin open. This caused unbelievable pain, and the sweating made it unbearable. Jumping into the shower was absolutely excruciating, but it had to be done as I needed to get fresh for work.
In the subsequent months of doing this, I noticed my asthma had considerably improved. I felt my lung capacity expanding - it felt great from that point. However, it was a different story where my AD was concerned. The eczema in my joints had become really bad; open and weeping lesions where I had obviously scratched where most of the sweat collected. I was at my wit's end. Sorting one problem out while exacerbating the other wasn't quite the goal I was aiming for.
A well balanced and healthy lifestyle
Serious changes needed to be made. Exercising is fundamental to sustaining a well balanced and healthy lifestyle but, was it worth doing so at the cost of my eczema worsening? I had tried using a towel to stop the sweating in the gym, keeping well hydrated, having my cooler fans on full blast in the car for the drive home, but it was all to no avail.
Avoiding eczema triggers: How much impact does it have on your daily life?
In the end, I had to make the sad decision to quit the gym. I remember feeling that there just weren't any answers. It felt like life was being cruel, almost laughing at me. I was so deflated. It's for reasons like this why I totally understand why so many give up hope. You try and try again to make progress, only to be knocked back each time.
Canceling my gym membership
Nowadays, my exercising routine is much lighter. My gym membership was officially canceled just before the first lockdown in March of 2020. I bought an exercise bike, which I use every morning for ten minutes, then hop straight into the shower. Why only ten minutes, I hear you ask? This is because my asthma has now taken a few steps back. It's one big vicious circle. Any advice would be greatly welcomed.
How does your emotional health relate to your physical health?
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