IS WALKING GOOD FOR ARTHRITIS IN THE KNEE?
Having arthritis in your knees and other joints can have painful, frustrating symptoms. Increasing your level of physical activity probably seems the last thing you want to do. However, you might be surprised to know that walking regularly, performing stretching exercises, and other body movements can alleviate your arthritic pain and enhance your mobility.
Experienced orthopedician Dr. Ajay Kumar Tiwari and his team are committed to providing high-quality personalized care to help arthritis patients overcome their pain and regain their quality of life. Learn more ways to minimize your knee pain caused by arthritis, including how you may benefit from increased physical activity.
The Benefits of Walking for Your Joints
It is a low-impact form of exercise because it puts less pressure on your weight-bearing such as your hips and knees.
Other benefits of walking include:
Keeps your cartilage healthy
The low-impact exercise like walking improves the flow of blood to the cartilage, which in turn helps the cartilage to get the required nutrients to protect the bony ends in your joints. Any movement increases joint lubrication, thereby decreasing pain, stiffness and increasing range of motion.
Strengthens your muscles
Strengthening your muscles allows you to handle more weight and protects your joints better.
Helps you to manage your weight
Extra weight adds more pressure to your weight-bearing joints and may aggravate inflammatory arthritis. Taking a walk can help you burn calories. The health of your joints can be improved even if you lose a few pounds of weight.
Is it better to walk indoors or outside for arthritis?
When you walk outdoors you engage more muscles, allowing the joints and other tissues to receive more blood flow. You can also meet new people by walking outside instead of walking on a treadmill inside. Social interaction offers positive benefits by making you walk longer and reducing pain.
When you walk outdoors make sure the path is even and safe because uneven sidewalks or tracks could increase the risk of slipping or falling.
If changes in the weather or temperature affect your arthritis, prefer indoor walking and if available walk with your friend for company.
Preparation tips for your walk:
Choose the right shoes
Pick the right shoes that are comfortable, flexible, and lightweight. While you walk, engage your whole foot to ensure your blood flow and muscles are active. Make sure you don’t tie your shoes too tight or place inserts that limit foot movement. If you engage your foot more, you will improve your balance more.
Consider walking sticks
A walking stick can alleviate joint pain, help with balance, and aid in overall stability. It might be a good idea to speak to your doctor about this.
Pack your water bottle
Keep yourself hydrated by drinking a few cups of water prior to starting your walk, as well as a few more after finishing. If you plan longer workouts or walk a long distance, make sure you have a water bottle and drink water every 20-30 minutes.
The Best Way to Start a Walking Program with Arthritis
A good start to a walking program for beginners is to speak with a doctor before beginning. Know the present limitations of your joints and try to work within those limitations. Your physical therapists or doctor can design a walking plan based on your condition that will benefit your joints without aggravating them.
Here are some more tips to help you protect your joints:
In the first week, start with five minutes walk every day and in the next week increase the time or distance of walking. If you need a personalized program, reach out to your doctor or physical therapist for help.
Build up to 30 minutes per day
Get 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise every day. If your breathing rate is elevated or if fatigue is an issue, split that 30 minutes into 10 minute blocks with a 3 to 5 minute break in between.
Modify your routine as required
Listen to your body because joint pain can be different from one day to the next. That’s why you need to adjust how far and how long you walk every day based on your daily feelings. If you get up with extreme joint stiffness, you may benefit from gentle exercises, but a long walk would be far out of your comfort zone.
Warm up your joints by moving them gently at first. You may start with moderate exercises for five to ten minutes before beginning an aerobic exercise. Whenever you start walking, ensure that every step is landed softly.
Stop if you feel uncomfortable
Take a break, if you feel pain in your joints — sit down for a few minutes and take a deep breath, then get up and start again. If you feel sharp and stabbing pain, or if the pain seems new, think it is done for the day. Consult your doctor and explain to him about the pain you experienced. He will assess your problem and provide a solution.
Stretch every day
Even if you experience flare-ups of Rheumatoid arthritis or an increase in osteoarthritic pain, staying active is still important. You might be able to relieve some of the pain by simple stretching.
Joint pains can be treated in many ways. To know more detailed information and other treatment options consult Dr. Ajay Kumar Tiwari, orthopedic doctor and one of the top joint replacement surgeons in Hyderabad. Call +91 98499 82203 for appointments.