- Start Slow
If you’re new to walking for exercise, begin at a comfortable pace. Doing too much too soon may hurt your joints and lead to overuse injuries. As you build up your endurance, increase your walking amount no more than 10% per week. More importantly, it is always best to stick to what feels comfortable.
Some people feel stiff in the morning or tired in the afternoon, which makes mid morning walks a more popular choice. Also, if you are taking an anti-inflammatory, begin your walk about 30-60 minutes after taking it to avoid aches.
- Choose The Right Shoes
Invest in a good pair of walking shoes. It’s best to look for shoes with good heel support. For added support, consider insoles. Shock absorbing insoles have been found to reduce knee pain than ordinary sneakers alone.
- Break Up Your Walk
It is recommended that you walk 30 minutes a day, but you do not have to do it all at once. Walking three times a day for 10 minutes can make it easier on your joints and prevent muscle fatigue. Multiple short walks are also a good idea for beginners.
- Apply Heat
Before your walk, apply heat directly to your joints. Heat relaxes your muscles and makes them more elastic. It is recommended that you apply heat 15-30 minutes before your walk. Take a hot shower or use a heating pad on your knees and hips. If it’s cold outside, wear multiple layers. If you’re at the gym, avoid using the treadmill that’s closest to the fan. The cold will cause your muscles to stiffen.
- Build Your Strength Through Pilates
Balance your walking routine with a resistance-training routine such as Pilates. Strengthening your muscles can relieve some of the pressure in your joints and can help your walk become easier. It has been proven that resistance training boosts physical function and relieves pain in people who have arthritis. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that you engage in muscle strengthening activities at least twice a week.
- Prepare and Finish Properly
To warm up, you should start at a slow pace for 5-10 minutes. This will increase the circulation and blood flow which supplies your tissue with oxygen and nutrients. It will also increase the flow synovial fluid, the fluid responsible for allowing your joints to move without friction. At the end of your walk, save some time to cool down. Walk at a slower pace for 5-10 minutes. This will give your body and your heart time to recover. If your are only walking for 10 minutes, warm up and cool down for 2—3 minutes.
Stretching increases flexibility and range of motion. This is crucial to those with arthritis. Stretching a cold muscle could increase your risk of muscle strain or injury. You should stretch 5-10 minutes after your warm up or walk for about 20 seconds.
- Walking Posture
Your head should be aligned straight over your shoulders, hips and feet to protect your joints. Keep your chin up and set your sights about 10-15 feet in front of you. Many people tend to look at their feet which cause them to hunch over and put unnecessary strain on their back. When waking faster, avoid taking bigger strides that will throw of your body’s alignment. Simply increase your pace while bending your elbows at a 90 degree angle and swing them to mid chest to increase your cardio workout.