Ellie is a keen mountain biker, enjoys exercise classes and recently began her journey as a runner. She has been living with diagnosed psoriatic arthritis for three years, having managed the symptoms for many more years.
Ellie has always been sporty and was used to bruises and some aches and pains associated with the activities she took part in, but just prior to her diagnosis, it felt like something else was going on.
Ellie is a member at her local gym, and they provided her with lots of support, including nutritional advice. Ellie was keen to try and explore lifestyle changes rather than medicate the condition. For example, she has found the use of nutritional supplements, as guided by professionals, to be really beneficial for her condition.
“I thought I was changing my diet for the better by going vegetarian, but actually some of the foods I thought were healthy, actually were having a negative effect on my condition.”
A big concern for Ellie was that she might not be able to continue mountain biking. Her husband has been really supportive in finding ways to adapt. The gym instructors have also been great in suggesting modified exercises to help her to maintain her fitness. Ellie loves being competitive but has taken on board the adaptations to enable her to find a new relationship with sport and exercise.
Keeping active has definitely contributed to her feeling better. Most of the exercise Ellie does is outside as she loves being in natural environments, but Ellie finds the social side the biggest motivator.
“All we are interested in is being out there together.”
During the first lockdown, Ellie began the Couch to 5k programme. She struggled initially, but with some encouragement from her husband - by week 6, she started to enjoy it and joined the beginners running club at the gym.
Ellie’s condition means her symptoms are more prominent in the mornings and can wake her up at night. Her downhill mountain biking has been tempered due to the impact on her arms. Otherwise, Ellie has found so many other ways to give her body a break so that she can continue to take part in an activity in the way she wants to.
Ellie enjoys ‘digital detoxing’ and leaving the phone behind to get away from normal daily stresses and hours we all spend in front of screens. Ellie recognises that being active outdoors helps to relieve stress and anxiety and can feel very liberating.
The best advice Ellie has for others in a similar position is - to find something you find fun, to not put pressure on yourself and remember that exercise doesn’t have to be for long periods of time.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it. But the feeling when I did it was amazing. The only thing stopping me was me.”
Ellie is looking forward to continuing her newfound love of running with her husband and exploring more new places where she can mountain bike!