Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exclusive Interview With Jackie Warner: Bravo's Fitness Celebrity & Creator Of "Fit In Your Skin"!

Today's post is about Fit In Your Skin, a new health and fitness program designed specifically for people living with Psoriasis. This initiative provides patients with important resources to help them become more physically active and improve or maintain their overall health. Click here to read a press release about Fit in your Skin which was created by Jackie Warner, celebrity fitness expert, trainer, and author of This Is Why You're Fat (And How to Get Thin Forever). I recently had the exciting opportunity to interview Jackie about her new program, so please check out the Q&A below!

Maya: How did you go about developing the appropriate program and how does it differ from a “normal” workout routine?

Jackie Warner: Last year, I teamed up with the National Psoriasis Foundation and Dr. Paul Yamauchi to create an educational campaign called Fit in Your Skin ( ™), which is the first-ever health and wellness program designed specifically for people living with psoriasis. People living with a chronic health illness, such as psoriasis, often experience challenges when trying to exercise due to symptoms of their disease, which may include skin plaques, inflammation and scaling. The Fit in Your Skin workout video includes modifications for certain exercises, taking into account these specific challenges, so people with psoriasis can still get a great workout! 

It’s important to note that the program itself is based on extensive research that indicates people with psoriasis are at a higher risk than the general population for other diseases like heart disease, obesity and depression. Just this year, a recent study published in The Archives of Dermatology found a link between people living with psoriasis and metabolic syndrome, particularly those with abdominal obesity. So this reinforces the importance of a program like Fit in Your Skin in helping people with psoriasis to adopt or maintain a well-balanced and healthier lifestyle while managing their disease.

Maya: What advice would you give to patients with Psoriasis or other chronic illnesses who are just starting to work out? Do you have any tips to get motivated?

Jackie Warner: Before starting a workout routine, it’s very important to consult with your physician to determine if Fit in Your Skin or another program is appropriate for you. With regards to motivating tips that will get you started, a positive mindset with dedication to getting (and staying) active are key elements in achieving your fitness goals. For those afraid to exercise due to symptoms from psoriasis, or other chronic illness, here are some other suggestions:

  1. 1. Declare that it’s time to get fit and healthy – try putting a note on your refrigerator or in a journal that reminds you of this promise to yourself.
  1. 2. Start out small and work your way up. When it comes to working out, it’s not how long, but how strong.  So pop in your Fit in Your Skin DVD and make a commitment  to work out just 30 minutes at a time a few days a week to  start.
  1. 3. Be good to yourself. If you miss a day of activity, don’t beat yourself up.  Just start again the next day. Take it slow and steady and eventually fitness will become part of your routine where you will want to do it more often.
  1. 4. As you increase your fitness level and interests, continue dialogue with your physician to update your exercises based on your symptoms and condition.
  1. 5. Find a music playlist that keeps you energized and excited – you can check out some of my favorite tunes on the Fit in Your Skin website.
    1. 6. Recruit a family member, friend or colleague to join you on the journey.Together, you can stay focused and inspired while on the road to adopting a healthier lifestyle. 
Maya: As someone living with a severe form of arthritis, I avoid exercise mainly because I fear overextending my body, hurting myself or promoting a flare-up. Is there anything you might advise a patient with chronic illness to avoid doing?

Jackie Warner: For those with chronic illness, I can’t emphasize enough how important 
it is to have open and ongoing conversations with your physician to discuss your exercise goals and potential limitations.  By working closely with your doctor, you can establish a plan that is customized for your health needs, and he/she may suggest working with a fitness trainer or physical therapist that specializes in chronic illness to help prevent potential injuries to your body. Also, ease into physical activities slowly and maintain a training log. You can download the free fitness log available at Fit in Your Skin™ to track and monitor your activities.  

Maya: How would one differentiate the pain of illness from the normal and good "pain" of working out? What is the best way to identify our limitations and/or signs that we might be "over-doing it"?

Jackie Warner: You know your body best, so as you begin to exercise and experience pain that you are unfamiliar with or continues for several days, tell your doctor immediately. Also be sure to start out slow, follow proper form and gradually progress the difficulty of your workout. Through all modes of exercise, even stretching, pay close attention to how your body reacts to specific exercises. Because disease symptoms vary between individuals living with psoriasis or a chronic illness disease, I encourage that you continue to modify the exercises so that they address your fitness needs without causing injury or discomfort. For example, an individual experiencing a severe flare-up should modify their exercise routine and be very cognizant of how they’re feeling in order to best convey the type of pain to his/her doctor. 

Maya: Research has shown that exercise can help with symptoms of fatigue - a common issue for people living with chronic illness. Can you please discuss how this works?

Jackie Warner: There is much research under way to help show that regular exercise can increase energy levels of people suffering from chronic health illnesses, and food impacts energy levels as well. This is of deep interest to me since I’ve worked closely with the psoriasis community through Fit in Your Skin, and many of my clients have autoimmune disorders, so we measure energy levels regularly. In terms of exercise, people often think that working out makes you tired, or fatigued; however, working out for even a few minutes per day, low to moderate intensity, actually helps boost energy levels, which help your body become a fat-burning machine rather than a fat-storing machine. I always recommend taking small steps, and also following a healthy diet filled with omega-3 fatty acids, like avocado or walnuts. For people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS); typically, you feel inexplicably run down and un-refreshed by sleep, possibly not having the energy for exercise, and will want to eat more. Sugar throws off your immune system and can make you feel tired, so I suggest eliminating it as often as you can and track your energy levels to test this theory.

Jackie: It was an honor to write this piece. Your passion is clear and I thank you for all of your thoughtful words.  Thank you also for recognizing a need for this program and working to improve the lives of chronically ill individuals. You are truly an inspiration to all of us.

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