Arthritis is the overarching term used for conditions that affects the joints, tissues around the joint, and other connective tissues. Joint pain affects estimated of 58.5 million Americans and this number will continue to increase as the population ages. For those who experience knee pains due to arthritis, the physical activities they can do might become limited. However, avoiding exercise and walking is not the right solution. With proper care, you can mitigate pain from arthritis and keep mobile. In this article, we go through six walking tips for arthritis.
Wear Proper Footwear
An average adult walks about 1100 miles a year. That’s over 350 hours on your feet! With how much time we spend walking, you should get yourself a comfortable pair of walking shoes. These shoes should have good shock absorption to reduce the impact on your knees. Avoid getting shoes that have pointed toes, heavy shoes, high heels, or shoes with thin soles.
Older adults are advised to stretch daily, especially in the mornings. This will allow your muscles to wake up and your joints will also be lubricated before you start your day. After a consistent routine of stretching, you will feel less joint and muscle pain and be ready for walking through the day.
Slowly Increase Your Walking
Like most exercises, walking takes gradual practice to get good at. When you start out, ease your way into it. Walk for a shorter distance at a slower pace. This can be something as simple as visiting the nearby park or going grocery shopping. Slowly work up to longer distances and faster speeds as you get more and more used to walking. You can even move up to brisk walking and jogging when you feel you are ready. Be sure not to push yourself too hard and rest well to avoid any additional pains.
Start Walking in a Pool
You might have heard aquatic therapy, a type of treatment performed in bodies of water for physical rehabilitation, relaxation, fitness, or other therapeutic benefits. There’s a reason why this has been garnering popularity in recent years. The water in the pool causes you to be buoyant, thus decreasing weight bearing and lessening the impacts you exert on your joints. When practicing aquatic therapy over time, you will find walking on land to be easier and less painful.
Build Leg Strength
Try out some leg related exercises to strengthen the muscles in your leg, particularly in the knee area. When your muscles surrounding your knee becomes stronger, the strain on your joints will be decreased. Some knee exercises you can do are cycling on a stationary bicycle, step-ups, calf raises, straight leg raises, and many more.
Walk on Softer Surfaces
When walking on concrete, the hard surface creates more shock when you step on it. These shocks will travel through the knees and put strain on them. Similar to aquatic therapy, walking on softer surfaces will alleviate the pressure exerted on the knees. You can walk on softer surfaces like sand, grass, and athletic tracks.