Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can have an immense impact on your social life, but there are ways to overcome its challenges. You’ll likely still want to avoid activities that could irritate your joints or trigger a flare-up, but there are still plenty of things you can try.
When you have PsA, both exercise and social activity are crucial for your physical and emotional well-being.
Here are 10 activities you can still safely take part in with PsA.
If you love to read, a book club might be the best way to get your literary fix while staying social. You can structure your book club any way you’d like.
For example, every few weeks you can change the genre. Or you can come up with a list of books and have everyone take a vote on which book you should read next. Meet with your book club to discuss the book and pass around some healthy snacks.
Everyone loves a good movie. You can watch movies at a theater or in the comfort of your own home. Watching a thought-provoking documentary with a few friends is also a great way to provide entertainment and spark meaningful discussion.
Movement can actually help your symptoms. The key is to stick to low impact exercises that are easy on your joints but still get your body moving.
Sun exposure during outdoor activities may increase vitamin D production, which may be beneficial for psoriasis. Be sure to monitor your time in the sun and use sunscreen when needed.
Walking on the beach is the perfect way to get some fresh air outdoors while getting some exercise in a calming environment. Take breaks when you need to. Enjoy the sunset with a friend for a great social activity.
Swimming and aquatic exercises can strengthen your back, shoulders, and hips. Plus, these exercises are good cardiovascular workouts that are easy on the joints.
Simply walking in the water puts little to no stress on your body, and you can do it with a friend or take a class at your local gym. Be sure to test if chlorinated water bothers your skin if you have a psoriasis flare-up.
A weekly board game night is a great way to challenge your mind and spend time with your friends. There are countless games to choose from.
In addition to the cognitive and memory benefits, sharing laughter and fun with others can promote empathy and compassion and provide a boost to your mental health.
Take a yoga class with a friend or two to destress and get moving. Yoga is also a great way to build flexibility and strength. Choose a gentle yoga class focused on breathing and simpler poses and don’t push yourself too hard.
If you feel comfortable, tell the instructor ahead of time that you have a condition that affects your joints and you’d prefer low-impact poses.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to get out of the house, do something good, and make new friends. There are many places in your local community where you can volunteer, including food banks, soup kitchens, and animal shelters.
You can also choose to volunteer for the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) to help further their mission of finding a cure. Consider helping with local NPF events, such as walks and runs, that raise money to fund research. Or you can become a mentor for others with PsA, helping them manage their condition by sharing your knowledge.
Riding your bike is a low impact exercise that’s also easy on the joints. In fact, cycling allows your joints to move through their full range of motion. This produces more synovial fluid that lubricates your joints, so you move more easily the rest of the day.
Choose flat trails or streets and grab a friend for an afternoon of easy riding.
Find a local meetup that connects you to people who share similar interests and physical limitations. You can plan fun events accessible for everyone. Some examples include arts and crafts, attending a game together, going for a short hike, or playing a card game.
Check websites like Meetup.com or social media sites like Facebook to connect and grow friendships with others affected by PsA.
For days when you’re just too tired to leave the house, you can still stay social. One way of doing that is by joining an online community. The world’s largest online support community for people impacted by psoriasis and PsA is TalkPsoriasis.org, which NPF sponsors.
PsA can often make you feel like you cannot partake in any social activities. But there are still plenty of hobbies and events you can choose from. You may have to modify a few to put less strain on your joints, but you can still have fun with those you enjoy spending time with and lead a happy and fulfilling life.