Pilates for Psoriatic Arthritis

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on November 22, 2021

Exercising is great for psoriatic arthritis because it can help you reduce symptoms like swelling, stiffness, and fatigue. Exercising can also reduce stress, improve your mood and help you maintain a healthy bone density.

Doing Pilates may seem a bit strenuous to you at first. This could cause some discomfort and muscle aches, but you shouldn’t feel sharp pain anywhere. Your doctor may recommend doing active exercises like yoga and Pilates

Exercising can help you stabilize your joints and get your body into a routine. Choosing a workout like Pilates or yoga is a great way to reset your body and joints for the day. It’s okay to do more or less depending on how your body is feeling that day. Don’t push yourself too far. 

Always make sure to talk to your doctor before trying these exercises. Your doctor will help you choose the right types of exercise. If you start feeling swelling and intense pain stop the workout immediately. You can try stretching to alleviate the pain, or if needed, contact your doctor for assistance immediately. Below are some moderate Pilates moves to try at home.

1. Lunge and Arm Raises

This is a great exercise to get your arms and legs moving and your blood flowing. To start: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder length apart. 
  • Inhale and step your left foot into a forward lunch. 
  • Exhale and bend your knees and torso lowering down. 
  • Inhale and lift your chest up returning to a standing position. 
  • Exhale and lower into a lunge again. 
  • When you’re stepping into a lunge, raise your arms into a “T.”
  • Take 3 sets with 12 repetitions.

2. Downhill Ski

This is a low-impact but more challenging position. It will target your inner thighs well. To begin:

  • Start in a plank position. 
  • Exhale and lift your chest back behind your arms. 
  • Bend your knees to the left. 
  • Inhale and shift back to your starting position. 
  • Exhale and shift your knees to the right. 
  • Take 3 sets with 12 repetitions. 

3. Criss-cross

This is a more complicated Pilates move. To start: 

  • Lay on your back with your legs in a tabletop position. 
  • Interlace your hands behind the base of your skull. 
  • Slowly lift your head, neck, and shoulders. 
  • Inhale and bring your right shoulder blade off the floor and rotate left. Extend your right leg at a diagonal. 
  • Exhale and return to starting position. 
  • Inhale and lift your left shoulder, and you rotate to the right. Extend your leg at a diagonal. 

These positions can be modified to whatever works best for your body. If something's not working out right, don't force your body into the position. Look for an alternative and see if that will help.

Show Sources


HSS: “The Do’s and Don’ts of Exercising With Psoriatic Arthritis.”

papaa: “keeping active.”

WELL + GOOD: “The 5 Basic Pilates Moves That *Everyone* Should Incorporate in Their Workouts for Better Mobility.”

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