Working Out With Eczema
I enjoy being physically active. Whether it’s taking a dance class, going on a run, doing high-intensity interval training, hiking, or doing a quick workout at home, I love moving my body.
But my eczema can sometimes get in the way.
Exercising without making my eczema worse has always been challenging. The sweat that is released during physical activity has created a long history of flares and intense itching.
What is sweat?
Sweating is one way our body prevents itself from overheating. It is a cooling mechanism to moderate our body temperature. It is largely made of water combined with chemicals like ammonia and urea, salts and sugar.
Sweating and eczema
It is when the sweat begins to dry on the surface of the skin, that our eczema begins to get out hand. Together with our bodies releasing water and sodium, the dehydration can trigger our eczema and cause it to flare and itch.
Moderating body temperature
That is why moderating my body temperature during a workout is important. I want to be sure my body is cool throughout the workout to avoid any flare-ups.
Here are some tips I use to control my body temperature while exercising:
Wear breathable clothing
Choosing the right clothing to exercise in is just as important as the exercise itself. You want to be sure that whatever you choose is light, breathable, and minimizes skin irritation as your body begins to heat up. I personally like to use clothing made of cotton. Although it hugs the body compared to other sports clothing, it is the softest and most comfortable on my skin.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Did I say hydrate? Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Remember, our bodies are already depleted of water, making it challenging to keep in moisture and stay hydrated. Exercise can heighten the depletion if not replaced with water, so drink up!
Resting in between sets can support you in moderating your body temperature. Listen to your body and tend to your eczema. When you feel the itchiness crawling on your skin, take a quick break, rehydrate, and get back into it! Use a towel to wipe off sweat during exercise to help prevent your eczema from being triggered.
If you’re like me and enjoy high-intensity workouts, be mindful of exercises that keep your heart rate at a high level. Mix up cardio and weight training to balance your heart rate and keep your body cool. This mix up in your exercise will allow you to limit the amount of sweat you are perspiring.
Rock your eczema with confidence
Don’t hide your eczema while working out. If you need to take off your sweater and show your arms in order to cool your body down, don’t hesitate to do so! Preventing your eczema from flaring is more important that what others may think of you. I used to be ashamed of my eczema while working out at the gym. Now, seeing my eczema fuels me to become healthier!
Living with eczema
Living with eczema means you still get to do what you love to do. For me, that means staying active and getting a great workout in. Through the many unwanted flares and itching episodes due to exercise, I have learned that this is all part of calling ourselves “eczema warriors”. Because we thrive through our pain and discomfort. Stay cool family! (Pun intended!)
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