A red face during a run or workout can be a good sign that you’re getting something out of it. However, it doesn’t feel like a good sign when your face then stays that way or becomes inflamed for hours or even days.
In NRS surveys, rosacea patients have reported heavy exercise as one of the top five triggers for a flare-up of signs and symptoms. Unlike other rosacea triggers that might be easier to forgo, like hot baths or spicy food, exercise and other physical activity are more essential to leading a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating physical activity into a weekly routine can help maintain good health while allowing a chance to let off steam and socialize. On top of that, exercise can be a mood enhancer and a natural way to increase energy.
A survey conducted by the National Rosacea Society found that 76 percent of rosacea patients said they exercise despite the flare-ups that follow a workout. In another survey, patients reported that aerobic exercise was the most aggravating and likely to cause a flare-up.
“Increased heart rate and respiration are usually accompanied by an increase in blood flow and core body temperature, so it’s not surprising that this type of exercise exacerbates rosacea,” explained Dr. Julie Harper, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
If you want to work out without causing a flare-up, the key is to practice an activity that doesn’t raise heart rate or cause you to lose your breath. Here are five low-heart-rate exercise options to consider:
Yoga: While it may seem like a fad because of its recent increase in popularity in the U.S, the practice of yoga in Eastern cultures dates back more than 5,000 years. There are a broad range of different styles and schools associated with yoga today. Hatha yoga is the most beginner-friendly variety. It focuses on learning poses and performing them properly. Vinyasa yoga includes the same poses as Hatha, but doesn’t hold them for as much time or rest between poses. Vinyasa is often called flow yoga because of the way people seem to flow through poses. It’s a moderate heart rate activity and might be a good next step after trying Hatha. Most power yoga classes are fairly slow paced and rely on body weight for resistance, so they’re another option to try after Hatha. Avoid Bikram and hot yoga if heat is a trigger for your rosacea.
Tai Chi: Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition of meditation enacted through motion. Today tai chi is practiced as a form of low impact exercise and stress relief. During tai chi, you practice certain movements and stretching in a careful and focused manner while breathing deeply and regularly. Your body is moving and stretching the whole time, and you determine the pace. Tai chi is appropriate for all fitness levels and requires no equipment. If it’s difficult to find a class or group to practice with, there are many videos available for free online.
Pilates: Pilates is a popular fitness system offered as a class at most gyms. The main goals of pilates are stretching, improving posture and strengthening abdominal, arm, shoulder, hip, and thigh muscles. Most exercises work with the weight of your own body and only require a mat or soft surface. Sometimes small hand weights can be incorporated into routines to increase exertion. Though there is a machine associated with pilates, it isn’t used in most practices or at the beginner level.
Barre: Barre is named after the bar used in ballet classes. It was invented by a ballerina as an accessible fitness routine for non-dancers using the principles of ballet and physical therapy. Most classes start with stretching on a mat. Arm exercises are practiced on the mat, and then the ballet bar is used for leg exercises. Abdominal exercises usually come at the end of the class. Barre routines focus on making tiny careful movements repeatedly. The drawback to barre is the limited availability, which can make classes pricier than other exercise options.
Water Fitness: Water aerobics, aqua Zumba, and resistance training in water are fun and effective ways to get fit while keeping cool. Most community pools offer some kind of aqua fitness. Any gym with a pool will typically offer Zumba, which is like salsa dancing in water; aquatic aerobics, which feels like swimming or practicing a movement routine in place; and a resistance and flexibility focused class that uses equipment in the water. Water is cooling and calming and it offers natural resistance. Be wary of chlorine and pool additives that may affect sensitive skin.