Fri, May 24

Tried-and-true health tip: Just go for a walk

Walking is good medicine.

Despite the known benefits of physical activity to help manage fitness and weight, walking is also beneficial for those suffering from arthritis. Adults with arthritis usully tend to be less active than adults without arthritis.

Walking has been shown to those who suffer fatigue, function and quality of life issues, as well as arthritis pain. Walking is low impact on your joints, can be done almost anywhere and doesn't require special equipment or a gym membership. Starting a walking program today.

Getting started

Federal guidelines recommend all adults, including adults with arthritis, get at least 150 minutes per week of at least moderate intensity aerobic activity and that they do muscle strengthening exercises at least two days per week.

Walking is a moderate intensity activity that people with arthritis can do to meet physical activity recommendations. If you walk for 30 minutes a day on 5 days a week you will meet these recommendations.

Don't think you can walk for 30 minutes at one time? You can break it up sessions and spread it out during the day -- walk the dog 10 minutes in the morning, take a 10 minute walk to discuss a project with a co-worker, and walk 10 minutes around a sports facility or parking lot while waiting to pick up your kids from after school activities.

Fun ways you can fit walking into your life

Enroll in the Walk With Ease program, a program has been shown to improve arthritis pain, fatigue, function and quality-of-life. It can be done in a group setting or by yourself at your own pace.

Walk your dog or volunteer to walk dogs at an animal shelter.

Park 10 minutes away from your office and walk the rest of the way.

Walk around the soccer field, basketball court, or softball field when your kids are at sports practice.

Buy an inexpensive pedometer and work to increase your steps a little each day.

Have a friendly competition with a spouse, friend, or co-worker.

When the weather is bad, stop by your local mall and walk a few laps.

Suggest to co-workers to have "walking meetings."

Get walking with this

12-week walking schedule

Are you looking to ease into getting in shape? A 12-week walking schedule from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute can start you on the path to better health. But before starting this walking plan, talk with your doctor if you've been sedentary for a long time or you have serious health issues.

Try to walk at least five times each week. Always start with a five-minute, slower paced walk to warm up and end with a five-minute, slower paced walk to cool down.

Start at a pace that's comfortable for you. Then gradually pick up speed until you're walking briskly - the equivalent of 3.5 miles an hour. You should be breathing hard, but still able to carry on a conversation. Each week, add two minutes to your walking time.

As you become more fit, you'll want to add strength training exercises, such as pushups and lunges, to your routine to meet the physical activity level recommended for healthy adults: At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity - or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity - a week.