It’s starting to warm up (well a little!) and I have vowed to have my girls and I take our dog for a walk every night after dinner. Claire needs to toughen up on her endurance to make it around the block (After 4 house scooter ride she is complaining of her legs hurting…she’s my drama queen!), Emma is perfecting her ability to ride her bike without training wheels and we could all use the extra fresh air after this long winter!
It’s already May and it’s time to start celebrating Arthritis Awareness Month by taking a walk!
What is arthritis? Arthritis is a term used to umbrella many different medical conditions. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis. To put it most simply, arthritis-related joint problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage (the smooth tissue that covers the ends of the bones, allowing them to glide against one another). Cartilage damage can lead to joint weakness and instability that can interfere with walking, climbing stairs, using a computer keyboard, cutting your food or brushing your teeth.
Walking is a low impact activity that improves arthritis pain, fatigue levels and overall quality of life. But here’s a staggering stat: over 50% of adults with arthritis do not walk at all for exercise throughout the week!
The American College of Sports Medicine and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention jointly issued national guidelines recommending “moderate intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days each week or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 days each week.”
Moderate-intensity exercise refers to level of exertion during exercise that raises your heart rate to a point where you sweat and feel you are working, yet you are able to carry on a conversation (i.e. walking at a brisk pace – 4mph)
Does 30 minutes a day seem too intimidating? Break it up throughout the day. Take your dog for a 10 minute walk in the morning. Walk with a co-worker for 10 minutes over lunch to discuss plans for your next meeting. Walk around the fields when waiting to pick up your kids from practice. Breaking it up makes it more manageable, you will help lubricate your joints, and you will feel better at the end of your day!
Now I just need to get Claire on board!
- Jen Bazan, PT, DPT