Patient Blogs | Atopic Dermatitis
How I Exercise with Eczema
photo of close-up of women's sport shoes running

As someone who was active as a kid, I know the importance of moving your body every single day. My mother and father were both physically fit. I would see my mom walking on the treadmill every day or riding her bike up Lakeshore Drive. My dad would be in the gym early in the morning before work, my older brother played baseball, and I was in tennis, dance, and modeling. I welcomed activities that didn’t feel like your traditional gym exercises. It wasn’t until my eczema (atopic dermatitis) got so bad that my activity levels declined.

Once I was in the eighth grade, my flares worsened. The pain in my skin prevented me from doing day-to-day activities without pain. With the concentration being on the folds of my arms, legs, and hands, it made it almost impossible to try to exert additional energy to play sports. People with severe atopic dermatitis know the feeling when your skin is so dry it begins to crack open and limits the function of whatever body part is affected. 

I almost had to condition myself to push through the pain to get on with everyday life. In high school, we had to have some type of PE class. Swimming was a requirement. However, I was exempt due to my skin condition. We had 4 minutes in between periods, and this wasn’t even enough time for me to rinse the chlorine off my body and lather myself up with countless creams and ointments. I knew that I had to stay active in some capacity. I was still a part of the dance team in and outside of school. As some may experience and understand, when I would participate in an activity that would increase my heart rate, I would of course sweat. Fortunately for me, I don’t sweat a lot, but the little that I did was enough to send shocks across my entire body.

You always hear doctors say how good movement is for the body and how necessary exercise is, but I was in a cycle of flares whenever I would sweat. It felt like my skin was burning and it would send me into the most serious itch fit. I never understood the science behind that until recently. I read an article where one study found a distinct link between a lack of physical activity and eczema. Apparently, the reason exercise can worsen itch and eczema is due to poor sweating function. This makes sense to me especially seeing that I sweat so little. 

Although a deterrent, I can’t be physically bound by my condition. I know that for me to live a healthy life, I must incorporate some form of movement. I made a pledge to myself to try to do something for 30 minutes a day. I won’t overexert myself and try to compete in the Olympics, but I will walk on the treadmill on a 12-incline going on 3 speed. It’s effective in getting my heart rate up and getting my steps in. I’ve even invited my friends and created a challenge to make it more exciting. If one person misses a day, they owe $5. That’s more than enough incentive to get up and get moving. 


Looking for more eczema info? Join our Eczema Resources Group on Facebook.




Photo Credit: RuslanDashinsky / E+ via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2023 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Mercedes Matz

Mercedes Matz

Diagnosed since 1995

Model Mercedes Matz uses her platform to educate audiences on her skin condition. By taking pride in her 28-year journey with atopic dermatitis, she’s been able to inspire others to do the same. From speaking at national conferences to producing content, she’s dedicated to encouraging everyone to embrace their true beauty. You can reach her on Instagram.

Latest Blog Posts From Mercedes Matz

“Yes, I’ve Tried Coconut Oil!” How I Deal With Well-Meaning Suggestions For Eczema

“Yes, I’ve Tried Coconut Oil!” How I Deal With Well-Meaning Suggestions For Eczema

All my life, unqualified people seemed to know how to treat my skin condition better than me ....

Read more
How I Find the Right Clothing With Eczema

How I Find the Right Clothing With Eczema

Dealing with any skin condition, finding something to wear can be extremely time-consuming. I was always into fashion growing up, but I never felt ...

Read more