Physical activity, defined as movement that requires energy, is important for your overall health – especially so if you have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (PsA). Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
U.S. fitness guidelines recommend you get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week, plus additional strength training. If time is an issue, spread your activity during the day with three 10-minute blocks of moderate to vigorous activity.
Exercise doesn’t have to be a long, boring workout. If you pick an activity you enjoy, you are more likely to stick with it.
If you have PsA, you might want to avoid activities that involve prolonged standing or walking. Consider beginning your exercise program in water. The water’s buoyancy can prevent you from putting stress on your hips, knees and spine, but allow you to build strength.
Talk to your health care provider before beginning any new exercise program. Ask your doctor, instructor or physical therapist about how to adapt your program for your condition.
Get More Physical Activity Into Your Day
- Schedule 10-minute breaks in your planner or calendar and go for a short walk.
- Sitting at your desk: Do ankle rolls, heel/toe raises and knee lifts every hour or so.
- Watching TV: Do stretches and floor exercises or walk when commercials come on.
- Park farther from the door when you go to work, shopping or doctor’s appointments. Never use the drive-up ATM at the bank. Get out of the car and walk to the ATM.
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
How to Work on Your Range of Motion
Performing range-of-motion exercises regularly will help you maintain your flexibility and prevent you from getting too stiff. Two good ways to get range-of-motion exercise are yoga and tai chi.
Yoga combines controlled breathing, stretching and strengthening exercises, and meditation to help control stress and improve blood flow to areas affected by psoriasis. Yoga can also enhance sleep and improve your mood. (Learn more about developing healthy sleeping habits with our free guide.) Yoga is recommended for people with PsA as it can help ease joint pain and improve range of motion.
Yoga instructors recommend practicing yoga poses at least 15 to 20 minutes a day. You can also find gentle or pain-focused yoga classes at hospitals, medical centers and YMCAs. If you are new to yoga, you may need to try more than one teacher and one class to find a good fit.
Like yoga, tai chi is an ancient art that can be effective in treating arthritis. Tai chi has a little more movement than yoga and the breathing is a little less complicated. Tai chi is recommended for people with arthritis because it emphasizes important range-of-motion exercises.