Get Moving in May
Each May, the Arthritis Foundation hosts their nationwide Arthritis Walk that supports public awareness and raises funds to fight arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability. This walk gives participants the opportunity to help improve the lives of the 46 million men, women, and children with arthritis. Since May is also Arthritis Awareness Month, the timing of the walk is of particular significance.
Sponsoring a walk for arthritis awareness is also a way to highlight the importance of exercise for those suffering from arthritis because it not only relieves arthritis pain, but also improves joint function. Without regular exercise, joints become smaller and weaker, and weakness and weight gain from inactivity put stress on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips, knees, and ankles. Not using your muscles can also result in a slight loss of function every day — and that is particularly bad for someone with arthritis.
For those suffering from any of the more than one hundred types of arthritis, including the most common, osteoarthritis, here are some additional reasons why walking can improve your overall health:
- • Reduces your osteoarthritis pain
- • Yields emotional benefits
- • Improves your ability to function
- • Boosts quality of life
Additionally, regular exercise ensures those afflicted with arthritis can do more, longer. Aerobic walking and resistance exercise programs may reduce the incidence of disability in the activities of daily living of people who are older than 65. Studies show that people who participate in aerobic activities, such as walking, have been shown to have improved aerobic capacity, as well as decreased depression and anxiety.
Even if walking is too painful, there are other means of getting aerobic exercise, such as cycling or water aerobics, that do not put as much pain and pressure on hips, knees and ankles. However you choose to exercise, the important thing is to get moving!