Community Views: Simple Stretches and Gentle Exercises
Last updated: October 2021
If you live with the joint pain and swelling of psoriatic arthritis (PsA), you know what it is like to wake up feeling stiff in the morning. You may have aching and tenderness in your hands and feet, and your fingers and toes may swell.1
PsA is a challenging condition, but there are things you can do to help feel better. One of them is exercise. To find out what community members do to keep moving, we turned to the Psoriatic-Arthritis.com Facebook page. We asked you to tell us: “What type of simple stretches or gentle exercises do you do to manage PsA pain?”
Here is a look at what types of movement community members say help them.
Put on your walking shoes
Walking is an excellent way for people who live with PsA to get some exercise. It can help improve your overall health and keep your joints flexible. And if you invest in some shoe inserts, this can help avoid stress on your feet, knees, and ankles.2
“Morning walking and stretching.”
“Daily walks and just to keep moving helps!”
“Lots of walking – yes!”
“Walking on a treadmill helps me. I find the treadmill helps lessen the impact on my ankles and feet rather than walking on concrete.”
Swimming is a good choice for many
For many people with PsA, it is easier to move in the water than out of the water. This means swimming or walking laps in the pool is a great way to get in some activity without stressing your joints.2
“I really challenge myself and push myself to the limits to stay healthy and active. I don't want to become lazy by doing just light workouts. Right now, I'm sticking with swimming laps... like 20 or so, and putting 2 miles on an elliptical.”
“I have been trying to walk in the pool to build other muscles up.”
Give yoga a try
Both yoga and tai chi can help people with PsA feel better. Not sure how to learn? Reach out to a physical therapist or qualified fitness professional. They may be able to help create an exercise plan that is tailored to your needs. Yoga, as well as stretching exercises, are also good because they help you to relax.2,3
“Yoga helps me.”
“Yoga stretches and walking help me.”
“Tai chi really helps me when I can remember and have time to actually keep it in my routine.
“You can modify a LOT of the forms (poses) to work with a chair for balance.”
Consider physical therapy
A physical therapist or an occupational therapist may be able to teach you some strengthening exercises.1
“I go to physical therapy. I think the best advice is even on your worst days you have to move. Besides, I can’t sit for long, as it’s too painful.”
Get creative about what form of exercise you choose
Do not put pressure on yourself when it comes to choosing a form of exercise. You do not necessarily have to join a gym or be in a structured environment. Just resolve to move more than you do now. Start off slowly so you can gradually build up your endurance.1
“I make a point to go fuss around in my garden first thing in the morning. Bending over to look at a pretty flower, a beautiful pepper, or my monstrous pumpkin patch seems much less painful than just bending over for the hell of it.”
“Very basic ballet stretches, modified so I don't harm my ankles or hip joints. That's all I can remember.”
Thank you to all who contributed their thoughts about PsA and what kinds of exercise help you feel better. We appreciate your honesty and willingness to share. Remember, before you start any new exercise program, discuss your options with your doctor. Choose a form of exercise you like so you are more likely to stick with it.
Do you have any questions about PsA?