Q&A With Matt Fuller
My daughter has been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at the age of 16. What would be some exercises she could do or possible sports she could do to encourage long term health?
Danielle from QLD.
I understand that Psoriatic Arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes pain, swelling or stiffness in one or more joints and unfortunately it is still relatively unknown as to why this occurs.
Many people in our communities live with arthritis, including myself. Thank you for taking the time to get in touch, too many people today concentrate and focus on what they cannot do rather than seeking help to see what they can do. Being proactive, your daughter will soon learn there are many ways to exercise around illness, injuries and disabilities that will still promote health and wellness.
I find (and recommend) that exercising daily helps with the mobility of joints and eases pain and stiffness.
With your daughter at the age of 16, she should now be fairly active generally in her daily life, but to assist with her psoriatic arthritis it will require a positive approach towards exercise.
A gentle exercise program should include whole body cardiovascular exercises such as swimming laps, cross ski, rowing and walking and should be done for a time limit as her condition and fitness levels permits. Very light resistance workouts would also help the joints and promote strength and confidence in your daughter as she grows into a young adult.
I personally find running on hard surfaces exacerbates swelling as this movement places a lot of pressure on your joints so would recommend limiting this as an exercise option.
With any arthritis pain you should listen to your body. There is no right time to train, it’s an individual preference but I find exercising often does help a lot. It’s ok to push through your training routine with a little amount of discomfort but I would recommend keeping a log book of what exercises she performs and particularly note:
- What exercises felt good
- What exercises caused pain and swelling
- If working out in the morning or evening made a difference and
- If the weather has a profound effect on the joints.
I know it sounds like a lot to consider but once you are in a routine you will quickly be able to learn what works and what doesn’t.
When starting a resistance program I would recommend that your daughter does only 2-3 sets per body part and complete 10 – 15 reps in each set.
Seek the advice of a professional dietician to see if any foods should be avoided and talk to your doctor regarding supplements that also may aide in helping your daughter feel better.
At 16 I would encourage your daughter to try a wide variety of team sports too and choose one that feels comfortable to her. The benefits of team sports are massive: self-confidence, self-esteem, teamwork, pride in achieving and learning to strategise.
All the best to you and your daughter.