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Did you know that there are over 100 types of arthritis? The most common two types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and both cause the protective cartilage between bones in the joints to break down. This typically causes symptoms like pain, swelling, redness, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. Although arthritis can worsen as we age, it can develop at any age, and it can be quite debilitating.

Joint problems drive millions of Americans to reach for over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, or for topical creams involving capsaicin. Although these can help in the short term, there’s also an excellent form of natural pain relief for arthritis that offers longer-term pain relief and other major benefits: walking. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of walking for arthritis relief.

How Walking Helps To Relieve Arthritis Pain

When your body feels stiff and painful, it’s tempting to avoid movement—but in fact, this will ultimately weaken the body and worsen arthritis. Walking regularly is a highly effective method for relieving arthritis pain and reaching other health goals because it offers:

  • Low-impact exercise. Doing high-impact repetitive exercises like running, jumping, and high-intensity cardio training can make arthritis worse because they cause the joints to slam together. Walking builds strength, lung capacity, and endurance, all while remaining gentle on the joints.
  • Improved circulation. Walking raises your heart rate, which in turn boosts blood circulation. It also increases your oxygen intake as you breathe more heavily. This helps your blood to deliver more oxygen and other key nutrients to your existing joint cartilage.
  • Stronger muscles. Strengthening the muscles around your joints provides them with greater support. Strong muscles also help to hold joints in the correct position, reducing the risk of herniated spinal discs, strains, and sprains.
  • Reduced weight. You might be surprised at how much excess weight you can lose just by walking regularly. Besides generally looking and feeling better, achieving an ideal weight also decreases the load-bearing strain on your joints.
  • Fall prevention. Over time, walking not only helps you stay in shape and reduce your arthritis symptoms, but can also help seniors to avoid falls and injuries. This is thanks in part to your strengthened muscles, but also the greater overall flexibility, more accurate foot placement, and improved sense of balance you’ll achieve by walking regularly. Consider taking a walking class to get all of these benefits and meet new people at the same time!

Walk With Ease With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

Visit our website for more information on our Fall Prevention Program, which offers fitness classes for senior citizens, including our Walk With Ease class. Contact us today to relieve arthritis, build strength, and help prevent injuries!