MONDAY, May 21 (HealthDay News) -- Women who exercise vigorously may be reducing their risk of psoriasis, Harvard University researchers report.
Psoriasis is an immune disorder that causes inflammation and scaly patches on the skin.
Vigorous activity for up to three hours a week can potentially reduce the risk by 25 percent to 30 percent, the researchers said.
"Exercise is a modifiable risk factor. Here is another reason to change lifestyle and exercise," said lead researcher Dr. Abrar Qureshi, vice chairman of the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston.
"Most interesting was our finding that intensity of exercise was linked to psoriasis risk, where less vigorous physical activity such as walking was not associated with a lower risk for new-onset psoriasis," he said.
The report was published in the May 21 online edition of the Archives of Dermatology.
For the study, Qureshi's team collected data on nearly 867,000 women who took part in the U.S. Nurses' Health Study II. Among these women, 1,026 had psoriasis.
The most physically active women had a significantly lower risk of psoriasis, compared to women who exercised the least, the researchers found.
However, only activities such as running, aerobic exercise or calisthenics were linked to a reduced risk of the condition, they added.
Other activities such as jogging, playing tennis, swimming and bicycling were not associated with psoriasis risk, they said.
"The highly variable intensity at which these activities are performed may account for this finding," the researchers wrote.
Why exercise is tied to a lower risk of psoriasis isn't known for sure, said the researchers, who found an association but not a cause-and-effect relationship between exercise and the skin disorder.
"The plausible mechanisms behind these findings are several," Q
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