Walking is great exercise for people with arthritis, regardless of age or fitness level. If you’re itching to get outside for some fresh spring air, use the extra hour of daylight to go for a walk after work or dinner.
Here are some tips for getting started and protecting your body:
- If you haven’t been active for a while, begin by walking for 10 minutes, then work your way up to 40 minutes daily.
- Relax your hands and wrists as you walk.
- Keep your shoulder blades pressed back and down to minimize neck tension.
- Let your arms swing naturally, with each arm moving forward with the opposite leg.
- Stand up straight and tighten your abdominal and gluteal (bottom) muscles to protect your spine.
- Shorten your stride to reduce knee and hip impact.
- Wear supportive walking shoes. When making the purchase, shop later in the day because feet swell during the day and you should try on shoes when they are swollen to get the best fit.
After your daily walk, put your feet up and give yourself a pat on the back for getting out there. Use a heat treatment, such as a heating pad or warm bath, to soothe stiff joints and tired muscles.
If you have acute pain or swelling, use a cold pack, such as Maine Ice. It restricts blood vessels, slowing circulation and reducing swelling. It also numbs nerve endings, dulling pain. (http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/heat-cold-pain-relief.php)
See Maine Warmers for a fun, functional variety of corn-filled heating pads that can also be frozen and used for ice!