Skip to main content

24-05-2012 | Article

Exercise may reduce psoriasis risk


Free full text

MedWire News: Women can reduce their risk for developing the skin condition psoriasis by engaging in regular vigorous exercise, study results suggest.

The researchers found that physical activity levels equivalent to running for at least 105 minutes a week, or swimming or playing tennis for at least 180 minutes a week, were associated with a 25-30% reduced risk for psoriasis compared with not participating in any vigorous exercise.

"In addition to providing other health benefits, participation in vigorous exercise may represent a new preventive measure for women at high risk of developing psoriasis," comment lead researcher Dr Abrar Qureshi and colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Psoriasis is a skin disorder associated with an overactive immune system, and is characterized by inflammation and scaling of the skin.

As previous studies have shown that physical activity reduces the risk for other diseases associated with inflammation, such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, and colon cancer, the researchers investigated whether it was also associated with a reduced risk for psoriasis.

They studied information on the exercise habits of more than 86,000 women. Of these, 1026 developed psoriasis over a monitoring period of 14 years.

Dividing the women into five groups based on exercise levels, the team found that, overall, those in the group with the highest levels of physical activity were 28% less likely to develop psoriasis than those in the group with the lowest levels.

The findings remained true after accounting for age, smoking, alcohol intake, and other factors, the researchers note.

"We found that vigorous physical activity was independently associated with a reduced risk of incident psoriasis," Dr Qureshi and team conclude in the Archives of Dermatology.

They add that further research is now needed to confirm their findings and to investigate why physical activity protects against development of the skin condition.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Mark Cowen