While a broad range of exercise activities may often aggravate rosacea symptoms, patients are nearly always able to reduce these flare-ups by modifying their exercise routines, according to a survey by the National Rosacea Society.
For most of the 732 respondents, exercise is part of their lifestyle. Forty-two percent reported they exercise frequently and another 34 percent said they exercise daily. But trying to stay healthy doesn't come without a price. For 64 percent of the survey participants, exercise had caused their rosacea to flare up or flare up somewhat.
The survey found that a great variety of activities caused flare-ups at surprisingly similar rates. Exercise had caused flare-ups in 55 percent of the runners, 46 percent of the cyclers and swimmers, 45 percent of the gardeners and 44 percent of the weightlifters and tennis players.
The common form of exercise least associated with flare-ups was golf, which had caused flare-ups in only 29 percent of those participating in this sport. Golf was followed by aerobics, affecting 39 percent, and walking, which had affected 41 percent.
Nearly half of the survey respondents said they had modified their exercise routines to avoid aggravating their rosacea. Of those who had made some changes to help reduce flare-ups, 97 percent reported that this had been successful.
The most common changes reported by survey respondents included reducing intensity and avoiding heat, humidity, sun and wind. Many reported exercising during cooler parts of the day, using sunscreen and keeping cool by drinking cold liquids, holding ice chips in the mouth and using a spray bottle.
When indoors, many said they now exercise in an air-conditioned room or in front of a fan. A number of respondents said they had switched to aqua aerobics (exercising in water) to avoid overheating.
A diary checklist is available to help rosacea sufferers identify and avoid their individual rosacea tripwires, and a booklet called "Coping with Rosacea" provides lifestyle management tips.