Walking, like other types of physical activity, is similar to medication. It has a way of easing rheumatoid arthritis pain and even builds strength on the supporting muscles of your joints. It improves one’s mood and behavior, helps improve sleep, reduces blood pressure and prevents other health conditions. Indeed, it does help add years to one’s life.
Here are some tips and tricks to make your daily walking habit more fun, interesting, and useful for your RA.
Take It Slowly. If you haven’t been physically active for years and you just started today, you better go easy. It’s not good for your body to be overwhelmed especially if you’re not in shape yet. A five-minute morning walk and then another walk in the evening may be the most that you can handle, and that’s totally okay. Initially, find a walking surface that’s flat and smooth to reduce friction against your feet. You can slowly progress daily or every other day, increasing your time to 10 minutes for the rest of the week. Pacing is a very vital factor to consider when you are suffering from RA. Overdoing your walks by progressing immaturely to rough terrains or too long hours could lead you to staying in bed and recovering in weeks.
Buy Rubber Shoes That’s Great Quality. This is the only gear you’ll need to begin your walking routine, so it’s only appropriate that you purchase a good pair of shoes. It is a necessity (not a luxury) because walking on poorly fitted or worn out shoes will cause you to complain of painful feet easily. With RA, there’s the risk of feet getting swollen, and you probably won’t want to do the routine anymore. Choose a pair that has a slight arch, solid bottom support, and preferably a cushion on the inside to keep you comfortable during your walk. Experts recommend changing your shoes after every 500 miles.
Always Take A Break. For arthritic patients, and even those without RA, breaks between walks are important especially if you’re still starting to get active. If you plan to walk for 30 minutes, then take a break on the 15th minute. Don’t walk the 30 minutes all the way without resting. Pain and swelling are major manifestations of RA, which can happen when you walk too much. Try walking in a park or mall for your first week. This way, you can easily sit on a bench when it’s time for a break.
Set A Specific Time To Follow. It’s always good to follow a regular schedule and try to stick to that schedule as much as possible. Choose a time that’s more convenient and accessible for you, like after working hours or early morning before taking your breakfast. Sticking to a schedule also helps instill discipline, patience, and determination.
Invite A Friend To Walk With You. For some, having company while doing exercise is a helpful distraction from the boredom. It also prevents you from oversleeping and not getting up from the bed, because you know someone’s expecting you. Your walk buddy can be anyone, really. It can be your best friend, your next-door neighbor, or even your dog. Choose a buddy that keeps your motivation going.
Bring A Pedometer With You. You can easily access these step counters through your phone, as there are a lot of applications that you can download and utilize for your good. Monitoring your number of steps dailycan inspire you to try more steps the next day. A good target goal is 10,000 steps. Relax. Don’t be pressured. Just keep walking and be aware that you’re closer to your goal every time you step your feet ahead of each other.
Make Walking A Part Of You – Everywhere And Anywhere
Wherever you are, try incorporating walking into the things you do. If you’re visiting a friend in the hospital, walk the stairs rather than using the lift. Don’t order via drive-through and instead walk a few meters to go inside the restaurant. If you’re picking up your kids, you can go to their school early, so you’ll have a little time to walk around the grounds while waiting for your kid’s class to end. Some steps may be too few, but it is better than not walking at all. Remember – every step matters.