1. Start small
The key to starting to exercise after a period of inactivity — especially if you have psoriatic arthritis (PsA) — is to start small. Causey recommends starting to walk in just 10-minute increments. Build up to 30 minutes and then an hour of walking each day. Don't worry, that half-hour or hour doesn't have to happen all at once, either. Breaking up your workouts throughout the day can help.
2. Don't push it
When you are out of shape, your muscles have to work harder to do the same amount of activity as an active person. Add in the inflammation of PsA, and pushing past your comfort zone can result in soreness and joint pain. Signs you've pushed it too hard: You have a hard time cooling down after you've stopped exercising or your joints feel worse the next day. Go slow and stop before you become exhausted, Causey says. Protect your joints if necessary.
3. Do something you enjoy
Starting a new habit is hard. Starting a new habit you don't enjoy is even harder. Do you prefer smooth, low-impact exercise? Consider taking up yoga or Pilates. Like doing reps? Take up weight lifting. Enjoy getting outside? Start walking or hiking. Studies show fresh air and exercise aren't just good for your heart; the natural vitamin D from all that sunshine can help your psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, too.
4. Stay hydrated
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids while exercising to prevent dehydration. Plan your workouts for early or late in the day so you miss the highest temperatures.
5. Keep going
For many of us, the hardest part about working out isn't the exercise itself, but about staying motivated. Make your daily workouts a family affair by planning fun activities to do with your partner or children. Seek out a workout buddy and be each other's support system. Or you can work out for a good cause by joining Team NPF and participating in one of our walks, runs or cycle events.
Working with your provider
Your primary care provider (PCP) is a great resource to help you learn about summer exercise. Proactively discuss ways your PCP can help you get more exercise, find a nutritionist or discuss other lifestyle factors. To learn more, request NPF's free booklet, Working with Your Primary Care Provider.
(Remember, always speak to your health care provider before beginning any exercise routine! He or she can advise you on the pros and cons of what you intend to do.)
Driving discovery, creating community
For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.