Community Voices: Keeping A Healthy Lifestyle with PsA
There are many different treatments for psoriatic arthritis (PsA). It can be overwhelming. There is also the fear that treatment may just stop working. It also seems a new pain or new symptom is looming just around the corner. It could best be described as a chronic pain roller coaster.
Is a healthy lifestyle with psoriatic arthritis possible?
When a doctor prescribes a medication or implements a treatment plan, they may also mention and recommend particular lifestyle changes. These are sensitive topics as they most likely are aligned with diet, exercise, and weight loss. Not always an easy discussion and not always an easy change.
Physical activity and diet changes can feel overwhelming when you are living with symptoms like stiffness, pain, and fatigue.1 To learn more about what healthy choices are working for those with PsA, we turned to our community.
We asked you to share with us: "Exercise and diet can be a delicate topic. What are you doing to stay healthy?" They provided realistic insight and expectations of what's working for them.
Taking a daily walk
When you live with PsA, joint pain and stiffness can make some exercises difficult. However, regular activity can help keep your joints flexible and muscles strong. Walking is an easy form of exercise that only requires a comfortable pair of shoes! Even a short stroll around the block after dinner can boost both your mood and your health.
“I’ve been walking slowly, but I'm doing it.”
“I find power walking helps my joints so much.”
“I walk outside every day the weather and my schedule permits, usually 4 to 5 days a week.”
"I walk 10,000 steps a day 5+ days a week."
Staying mindful about what you eat
There is no one diet that can cure PsA, and what works well for 1 person may not work for another. However, eating well can help reduce joint inflammation related to PsA. Plus, healthy food choices may also help lower your risk of developing other conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Just keep in mind that you should talk to your doctor before you make any changes to your diet. They can help you figure out what approach is best for you.2
“Cutting out sugars has really impacted my body in a wonderful way. My joints have felt the best they have in quite some time!”
“I drink lots of water and eat fresh fruit and veggies, and lean meats and seafood.”
“A gluten-free diet helped with leg pain before I even knew I had PsA.”
“I started an anti-inflammatory diet journey, and it’s helping so much. I’ve lost 40 pounds, feel better in my joints, and have more energy.”
Sometimes, it can be energizing just to try out a new class or type of exercise. Yoga can help people with PsA because it can help improve your range of motion and ease joint pain. Yoga may help you sleep, and it can improve your mood, too.1
“I practice yoga daily, which has been the biggest help for me.”
“I practice yoga and stretching.”
"Practice yoga, stretching, and meditation to reduce stress and stay limber."
Staying the course with PsA
We all have those days when we just do not want to get out of bed. That is completely normal! But several community members shared that sticking to a healthy routine keeps them feeling their best, even on those tough days. Just doing small things each day, like taking short walks and planning your meals, all add up to improve your overall health.
"Motivation: pain. If I don't exercise and eat healthy = pain."
"Consistency. Try to get on a schedule as much as possible and take time at least once a week to do meal planning and stick to it."
"Currently doing a keto diet, daily walks, and low-impact cardio. Down a few pounds with a ways to go! Get strong – we've gotta keep using it before we lose it!
It all starts with the first step
When you're managing pain, appointments, and the reality of daily life - it can be easy to put light movement or gentle exercise on the backburner. Based on the generous comments from real people who live with PsA, they have proven that it shouldn't have to take much. It's just important that you start somewhere.
Prioritizing your health with treatment is important. With treatment comes pain relief and a course of action. Aim to keep the same mindset for your physical health. The hardest part is momentum and consistency but with those lighter exercises and softer movements, you will eventually find relief. Be kind to yourself.
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?