If you suffer from arthritis, life can be a painful, daily struggle. Walking is especially helpful for this condition; it strengthens muscles, which assists in shifting pressure from joints and reduce pain. Repeated walking compresses and releases the cartilage in your knees, helping to circulate synovial fluid that brings oxygen and nourishment to your joints. When joints do not get this circulation, they can deteriorate faster. However, many have difficulty starting or maintaining a walk program. To improve your chances of success, try these five walking strategies:
1. Use the “buddy” system–This can include walking with a friend, spouse (nice “date” time) group, or even your dog. Being accountable to another can help you stay on track with your walking regime. You know that if you don’t go, you may be letting someone else down.
2. Change the scenery–If you walk the same route every day, your routine can get old fast. To make walking more enjoyable, find different paths to help keep it interesting.
3. Wear a good pair of walking shoes—A good pair of shoes is the only equipment you need for walking. Spira®offers exceptional cushioning and comfort that actually returns expended energy back to the wearer with every stride! The only shoe on the market with WaveSpring® technology in the soles, Spira® helps to reduce fatigue, joint pain and helps to protect against impact. The cushioning doesn’t break down over time like traditional midsole materials because the springs are mechanical and do not degrade over time—they actually improve with use. As a result, the “new-shoe” cushioned feel stays throughout the life of the shoe. A variety of Spira styles are available leather, mesh and wide widths depending on your preference. The foot inserts are removable to accommodate orthotics.
4. Track your progress—Set attainable goals and keep track of how far, long and often you walk. Journaling is helpful. Write how you feel about your walk day so you can reflect and study patterns of what is working and what is not. This will help you to stay motivated. Also, it may be helpful to invest in an inexpensive pedometer, to log steps or miles to track progress. Reward yourself for your accomplishments (not with high calorie or unhealthy foods, however)!
5. Make it a habit—There are probably many demands on your time and energy, however, your health is extremely important so make time for walking a priority. Schedule it in your day like you would any appointment. If you don’t have time, do a shorter walk. Also, look for ways to “sneak” walks into your day. For example, park further away from stores; take longer routes or “laps” while shopping in malls, etc. On days when your joints ache or you’re really fatigued, take a shorter walk. But keep moving – a brief walk may end up giving you enough energy for a longer one.