Morning exercises bring many benefits, but for people with eczema, going to the gym and then going to work is a challenging set of challenges. Hot and sweaty can cause an outbreak. The breakfast you eat for energy after a workout can do more harm than good. And after heavy workouts that weigh down your body, stress due to deadlines and other workplace pressures can also be a trigger.
Bottom line: if you want to start your day at the gym, you need a smart strategy to avoid eczema.
Enter Matt Knight, one of London’s most sought-after fitness experts. Inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book, Knight took bodybuilding seriously as a teenager (his training partner nicknamed him “Diesel”) and gained instant success as a personal trainer at the gym in his 20s. But then the gym closed. He also suffered a shoulder injury that prevented him from exercising. His stress levels increased, and Knight was soon faced with severe eczema all over his body, including outbreaks of his feet that prevented him from walking.
“I didn’t sleep at night before, itching,” he recalls. “I had so bad on the soles of my feet, they were cracked and bleeding and I was taking antibiotics.”
Knight went from the doctor to the doctor, but did not feel much relief – until he realized what foods caused his outbreak. When he changed what he ate, the seizures subsided. Meanwhile, Knight found ways to play sports without causing an eczema attack, and this allowed him to resume his career, which greatly reduced stress levels.
Now in fantastic shape, he is committed to helping others who want to exercise, go to work and avoid skin problems. Here he offers three keys to dealing with eczema at the gym and then heading out for a productive work day without itching.
1. Keep cool and clean
When Knight realized that constant patch tests didn’t solve the problem, he read about his condition, noted that it seemed to cause outbreaks, and tried to eliminate his personal triggers. Heat and sweat are important to him, but it’s inevitable if you exercise like Knight to get results. So he came up with a post-workout solution: “I make it as cool and clean as possible after a workout. I think a quick shower with cool water is great if you have eczema that is exacerbated by the heat. The main thing is not to let it last too long. “
The National Eczema Association recommends the “soak and seal” method:
- Take a shower for only 5 to 10 minutes using a mild soap-free cleanser.
- Gently wet the skin, leaving it slightly moist.
- Use any topical skin medications that are prescribed to you.
- 3 minutes after coming out of the shower, apply a moisturizer all over your body.
- Wait a few minutes before getting dressed to allow your skin to absorb the moisturizer.
“You don’t want to wash away all the oiliness of your skin and leave your skin dry,” Knight says.
2. Restart your breakfast
After analyzing his diet, Knight realized that some foods worsen his condition. “Make sure you keep inflammatory foods to an absolute minimum,” he says. Although there is no clear link between eczema and food allergies, giving up foods that cause an allergic reaction can reduce seizures, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Common allergies include peanuts, gluten and alcohol. Knight recommends limiting red meat, dairy products, whole grains, flour and sugar in your diet, and eating more fish and vegetables. “Also, remember some so-called healthy foods,” he adds. “That whey protein shake and all those eggs can do far more harm than good.”
3. Improve your attitude
After leaving the gym, show the power of positive thinking. On the way to work instead of worrying about a possible outbreak, remind yourself that you did your best to prevent it. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that whatever happens during the day, you will cope. Look for ways to reduce stress at work. If you are, for example, a manager, you can learn to delegate.
And never throw in the towel. “Whether it’s stress, the environment or food, keep looking for answers and don’t ignore opportunities,” says Knight, adding: “There are always answer. Don’t stop looking for him. “