How can walking help your arthritic joints?
The first way walking can be helpful is that it helps you lose weight, or prevent weight gain, which reduces the strain on your knees.
It also keeps bones strong and healthy, which is necessary for healthy joints.
And, it gets you out in the sun for a few minutes every day, enabling your skin to soak up its rays and produce vitamin D, which is important for preventing osteoporosis and reducing rheumatoid arthritis
Exercise has also been proven to reduce pain
, and it increases flexibility and strength. It also help combat fatigue
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But now that we've established walking is good for you, how must you go about it if you suffer from arthritis
The first thing to do is check with your doctor if you're concerned the physical structure of your knees won't handle the exercise.
Then, get into it slowly. Any walking will be better than none, so it's not a race to the finish line. Rather walk more frequently for shorter periods than overdo it on one walk, which will prevent you from walking for a few days.
Stay hydrated during and after your walks by drinking water. Choose comfortable walking shoes to minimise the impact on your knees. And select a route that doesn't have too many stones and pits which could lead to injuries - preferably a walking path in a park or your garden.
Build up slowly to 30 minutes and then to 60 minutes per day. Ideally you should walk about 6000 steps per day (don't worry, they add up quickly, and you'll do a lot of them in the normal course of your day).
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Before you go out for your walk, do a few stretches at homes to loosen up your muscles. Always hold on to something sturdy while stretching your legs so you don't fall over.
So get out there and walk your way to healthier knees!