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Exercise Linked With Decreased Psoriasis Risk: Study

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Vigorous exercise may help to lower women's risk of psoriasis, according to a new study.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women who spend 105 minutes running (or an equivalent type of aerobic exercise) have a 25 to 30 percent lower risk of psoriasis.

However, not all exercises were alike in terms of decreasing psoriasis risk.

"Among the individual vigorous activities we evaluated, only running and performing aerobic exercise or calisthenics were associated with a reduced risk of psoriasis," the researchers wrote in the study. "Other vigorous activities, including jogging, playing tennis, swimming and bicycling were not associated with psoriasis risk. The highly variable intensity at which these activities are performed may account for this finding."

The study, published in the journal Archives of Dermatology, included data from 86,665 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study II. At the start of the study in 1991, none of the women had psoriasis; they were followed up on their physical activity levels in 1991, 1997 and 2001. Throughout the years, researchers found that 1,026 of them developed psoriasis.

Researchers found that physical activity was linked with psoriasis, in that the most active women had a lower risk of the condition.

"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," study researchers wrote. "Additional corroborative studies and further investigations into the mechanisms by which physical activity protects against new-onset psoriasis are needed."

Psoriasis is a chronic disease that manifests in scaly, flaky patches on the skin. The disease seems to be heritable in families, and is not contagious, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Up to 2.6 percent of the U.S. population has psoriasis, and 15 percent of those people may also have psoriatic arthritis, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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