Regularly Stretching for Mobility
Last updated: August 2023
Psoriatic arthritis is well known for affecting our range of motion in movement. It is honestly one of the most annoying things and something I have found that I have to stay on top of. If I allow it to slip, I quickly find that my movement is affected and I struggle to get going again.
Why do I stretch?
A good stretch for me is almost like a daily supplement. I set a reminder for it and get going when I need to. Most days before I have even gotten out of bed I have stretched and woken up my muscles to prepare for the day ahead.
While stretching will not produce results overnight and there should really be no such expectations. It takes time and commitment and effort on a regular basis. It will yield results though with patience and consistency.
How does stretching help my psoriatic arthritis?
Stretching will help you keep your muscles strong and flexible. Having that flexibility in turn means that the muscles can support the joints properly. This could help you avoid injury to your joints. Without stretching it is possible that the muscles will become short and tight. Meaning when you need them in an extended range of motion you can get injured, damaging muscles and tendons, which for someone with psoriatic arthritis is less than ideal.
How do I do it daily?
The idea of doing something daily might seem very daunting, and it might take some getting used to in the beginning. Soon you will find yourself craving it if you happen to miss a day. In particular, if you have a sedentary lifestyle. It can be super important to keep the muscles moving to keep your mobility and help support your joints.
It takes muscles a long time weeks maybe even months to shorten and tighten, so it is most certainly going to take a similar amount of time to reverse the process.
How does it give me mobility?
When you have psoriatic arthritis working out can be very challenging and is often simply not possible. It is often a part of life that goes missing as we simply have too much pain to do what it is we want or need to do. For me being mobile is more important than being strong and fit. Stretching is easier on the body than most workouts and can be introduced gently and even started from a chair if that is all that you can do at the time.
Where can you find gentle exercises?
Ultimately you would want to have a professional guide you through this, I do understand that this is not possible for everyone. The internet is a wealth of information and you can find some free resources for stretches and gentle workouts. Go slowly and just remember that while you should feel some tension, stretching should not cause you any pain. The goal is long-term, movement, and mobility. I want to be able to move and walk and keep my body capable of daily tasks.
If you are able to, try to get a session with a physiotherapist, then explain your goals and they can help you to get a good idea of what you should be doing for your body and your goals. This way you will be able to avoid injuring and really work at your goals for mobility.
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