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Walking

For people of any age with arthritis in any joint, walking is good medicine. Walking strengthens your muscles – which helps shift pressure from joints and reduce pain – increases your balance and strength, and improves your overall health. It helps you attain and maintain a healthy weight, which in turn, lessens stress on joints and improves arthritis symptoms. A regular walking routine also compresses and releases the cartilage in your knees, helping circulate synovial fluid that brings oxygen and nourishes your joints, and removes inflammatory waste products. The Arthritis Resource Finder can help you locate a community resource or an Arthritis Foundation event in your area.

Modifications

Specific modifications will depend on your joints affected, but you may consider the following.

  • Take shorter strides to reduce impact on your joints.
  • Wear supportive braces and devices, if prescribed: back, knee and ankle braces, and shoe inserts.
  • Use proper posture: relax your upper body, keep your core engaged and your head upright.

Tips

  • To ensure success in your walking program, be sure to warm-up, stretch, cool-down and stretch again after your walk.
  • Walking on soft, even surfaces is easier on your joints than trekking on hard, hilly terrain.
  • Good shoes provide support and help with proper body alignment.

Progression

  • When you walk or start any new physical activity, start slowly and increase your activity level gradually. Increase your walking time, distance and speed slowly over time.
  • Trying to do too much too fast can lead to pain that may set you back instead of move you forward.

This is general walking information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.