How to Stay Active With Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

by Sabrina Skiles Patient Advocate

Adding a fitness routine to your life can be beneficial for your mental health as well as your physical health. Psoriasis raises your risk of developing other illnesses — such as heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome — so exercise is especially important. Try these 10 tips for getting — and staying — active.

Woman meditating on the floor.
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Go easy at first

When beginning an exercise regimen, you don’t need to commit to a marathon at the get-go. Start slowly. Set your alarm for 15 or 30 minutes earlier than usual so you can incorporate a brisk walk or at-home yoga session into your morning routine.

Runner in forest tying shoe.
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Buy the right shoes

Having the right pair of walking, running, or fitness shoes is vital to maximizing your workouts. Shoes that don’t fit correctly can lead to muscular imbalances, raising the risk of foot, knee, and hip injuries. Ask an employee at a sporting-goods store to help you find the right fit.

Man shopping for sport t-shirt in a store.
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Update your workout clothes

Lightweight fabrics such as dri-fit, jersey, or nylon allow your skin to breathe, which is exactly what people with psoriasis need. (Cotton absorbs sweat, which can make you feel clammy and is not good for your skin.)

Sneakers, a towel, and a water bottle on the floor.
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Set out your clothes ahead of time

If you like to get your workout done in the morning, be prepared by laying everything out the night before. If you exercise after work, have your clothes ready and waiting for you when you get home. If you have to search for your workout clothes, you might decide to skip exercising altogether!

Woman drinking water during workout.
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Hydrate

Water does a body good. And we all know that people with psoriasis have to work extra hard to stay hydrated, as our TNF cells reproduce three times faster than those of people who don’t have psoriasis. Staying hydrated keeps moisture in the skin and may reduce flakiness.

Seniors hiking through the woods.
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Grab a buddy

Having a workout pal holds you accountable, plus it makes your workouts more fun! Who doesn’t want that? Ask your significant other. Go for a walk on your lunch break with your coworkers. Need some motivation to get started? The National Psoriasis Foundation’s Patient Navigation Center is a great resource.

Women planking at the gym.
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Join your local gym

Don’t let joining a gym intimidate you. Most offer a variety of classes, like yoga or Pilates, that can be easy on your joints— great for those with psoriatic arthritis. Most YMCAs host a family night or offer free or discounted classes on specific days.

Woman looking at laptop while working out at home
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Try an at-home workout

If going to the gym isn’t your thing, then at-home workouts could be just the ticket. Choose from thousands of DVDs including yoga, core strength, ab workouts, running, and weight-training. Try Top YouTube Workout Videos for People With a Chronic Illness.

Businessman walking up the stairs.
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Aim for frequency, not duration

The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Use that as a baseline. This can be anything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to walking on your lunch breaks to doing household chores. The more you move, the better you feel.

Woman running in Central Park.
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Don’t give up

If you miss your morning walk or can’t meet your friend for that exercise class after work, it’s OK. Life happens. Just get back into your workout routine as soon as you can.

Sabrina Skiles
Meet Our Writer
Sabrina Skiles

Sabrina Skiles is a lifestyle and psoriasis blogger, who was also diagnosed with breast cancer just two days after her 35th birthday. She created her blog, Homegrown Houston as a lifestyle resource for millennial women and those living with chronic conditions. She shares daily inspiration from health and wellness, motherhood and marriage to managing a chronic disease while living a stylish life. Sabrina is also a volunteer mentor, coach and social ambassador for the National Psoriasis Foundation. You can find her sharing #chemolife and psoriasis tips while living a stylish life on Instagram @sabrinaskiles.