If you have any form of arthritis and do not get regular exercise, walking is a great place to start. Walking one of the best ways to start the transition from inactivity to activity, even if you have arthritis in a weight-bearing joint like your knee or hip. By engaging in a low-impact activity like walking, you can relief or decrease arthritis pain, stiffness, or swelling.
Advantages of Walking: Taking the First Step to Better Health
Going for a walk costs you nothing and doesn’t require any special exercise equipment. Even if the weather isn’t the best, you can go to an indoor space and walk around places like the mall. Plus, walking is a natural form of motion for humans, so there’s no need for a special class or training.
Manage Your Weight and Improve Range of Motion
You get the chance to use your entire body when you go on a walk. Almost all of the major muscle groups are needed to continuously be in motion, remain balanced, and maintain good posture while walking. A lot of people start to use their arms as well once they get into fast-paced walking.
We can’t forget to mention, walking burns calories so it helps maintain a healthy weight. That, in turn, lessens stress on joints and improves arthritis symptoms.
Strengthened Muscles and Healthy Cartilage
Low-impact exercise like walking increases blood flow to cartilage. This helps cartilage get the necessary nutrients for protecting joints. Truly, any movement helps lubricate joints and decreases stiffness. The stronger your muscles are, the more weight they can handle, and the better they can support and protect your joints.
Finally, going for a walk can boost your mood. Physical activity of any kind promotes the release of endorphins in your brain which elevates your mood. Walking outside and connecting with nature can improve your mood. Plus, if you go walking with family or friends, it can be a great chance to catch up and learn more about each other.
Tips for Getting Started with Walking
Pick the Proper Shoes
Picking the right shoes for exercise is extremely important, especially when you have arthritis. Look for proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. Be very careful not to restrict foot movement with inserts or by tying your shoes too tight.
Build Up to 150 Minutes per Week
30 minutes of exercise for 5 times a week is the ideal level of moderate exercise. If you haven’t been active, it is best to build up to this goal gradually. Start with 10 minutes of walking each day then increase to 15 minutes the following week. Map out a route that brings you back home after achieving your distance goal.
Consider a Walking Stick
Consider using a walking stick to relieve pressure on the joints. A walking stick can also help with balance. If you are unsure if it’s right for you, consult with your doctor.
Stop if You Experience Pain
Slightly sore muscles are fine after exercising and will decrease as you become more active but stop exercise immediately if you feel severe pain or sudden, sharp pain in any joint.