Kick-starting the new you in the new year

| Chris Paoli

You have to learn to walk before you can run. And sometimes, you have to cycle before you can walk. 

That’s according to physical therapist Brian Blevins, DPT, of Stride Strong Physical Therapy in Portland, Oregon. He is a strong proponent of cycling as a form of exercise, especially if you’re just starting your journey on the road to physical fitness. 

Blevins says the fact that cycling is low impact is a major draw. No matter what your fitness level is, you can likely ride some kind of bike while benefiting your cardiovascular health. “I employ a cycling regimen clinically all the time for postoperative patients and older patients who might not be able to handle weight-bearing activities,” Blevins says.

Cycling is also beginner friendly even if you don’t lead an active lifestyle, and it’s a great way to kick-start the new you. If you’re easing into a workout, Blevins suggests beginning with a stationary bike because it removes balance from the equation, and the cost to entry is much lower. Also, most gyms have a row of bikes waiting for you to jump on – without the pressure of trying to share the road with others

When you’re living with psoriatic disease, maintaining an active and healthy routine is key to avoiding comorbidities like heart disease. However, the pain with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis (PsA) could deter you from being active like you should be. Thankfully, cycling has your back. 

“When a patient of mine experiences a joint flare-up caused by psoriatic arthritis, activities like walking or hiking are sometimes near impossible,” says Blevins. “Bikes moderate how much force you’re putting on your joints, while working on a range of motion and keeping you moving.”

Sometimes flares can be so bad that working out might be the last thing you want to do. However, Blevins says maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, rather than a sedentary one, could help minimize the impact of a flare and manage disease severity.  

If you have psoriasis, take extra consideration when cycling outdoors. Applying sunscreen is a must. 

Practicing a healthy lifestyle and staying active is important when you have psoriatic disease. If you’re new to cycling (or to exercise), motivation is key to keeping a positive regimen going. Don’t get discouraged if progress is slow at first. As with anything, the more you stick with it, the more successful you will be. You have support too. There are a number of studios or places to go to cycle – you could even do virtual cycling classes at home. You can also join a Team NPF Cycle event!

Don’t forget to talk with your health care provider before starting a new workout routine. 

Team NPF

Join Team NPF for our fun cycling, walking and running opportunities to exercise, make new friends and raise money for a good cause!

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.

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