Walking is a great form of exercise for individuals who suffer with Osteoarthritis of the knee. The main reason why walking is such a great activity is due to the low impact force on the knee. Walking with Osteoarthritis of the knee also increases joint flexibility and mobility, helps with overall bone health and reduces the risk of Osteoporosis (decrease in bone density).
Walking with Osteoarthritis of the knee, should become a normal routine which will help strengthen the muscles around the joints and help you maintain a healthy weight as well as an active lifestyle.
Key Benefits of Walking with Osteoarthritis of the Knee
- Keeping your cartilage healthy: Walking causes pressure and movement on the joint, when this occurs it forces the body to produce more synovial fluid within the joint. This fluid is vital since there is little blood supply to the cartilage, walking causes increased fluid to occur which gives nutrients to the cartilage, allowing that cartilage to stay hydrated and full thus maintaining cushioning, and flexibility. Thus walking with osteoarthritis of the knee helps feed or give nourishment to he cartilage.
- Strengthening your muscles: Any muscle on your body becomes stronger with repeated use and exercise. Walking is a form of cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping, and it’s a great way to nurture and strengthen all parts of your lower body.
- Supporting a healthy weight: Maintaining your weight is extremely important. Walking with osteoarthritis of the knee is a low-impact exercise that allows you to get in shape at your own pace.
- It is a free activity which can be done anywhere.
- Walking outside or out in nature, helps increase mood and energy by secreting endorphins which are considered our happy hormones, that also help with pain reduction.
- You can choose the distance and pace which suits you.
How to start your Own Walking Routine
Walking with osteoarthritis of the knee needs to start with a walking schedule or a walking routine that you can stick with. There are a few ways you can start your journey, such as:
- Starting steady and slow especially if you have never walked longer before.
- Choosing a soft surface that is not too harsh on the knees. (Sand, grass, or gravel trails)
- Starting steady and slow
- Increasing your speed or incline as you grow
- Don’t forget to stretch.
Staying committed to your daily tasks is very important. So a little bit of walking per day is better than no walking at all. Try starting with 15 minutes and gradually increasing to 30 minutes. Making small goals even if it is just a few minutes at first can inspire you to continue and build.
Many people hesitate on starting walking programs because they feel. That their osteoarthritis pain will increase. However studies have shown that walking is one of the best activities for osteoarthritis of the knee and that is tolerated well.
Walking 30 minutes several times per week is ideal. However any activity longer than that can cause increased discomfort for someone with osteoarthritis of the knee. Studies have also shown that walking longer than 30 minutes can lead to cartilage breakdown, thus ideal amount off walking time seems to be 30 minutes 3 to 4 times per week.
Interval training is also a great form of exercise for the knees. This can include walking faster or at a higher gradient for shorter periods of time, adding up to 30 minutes. However, if you do experience anything out of the ordinary, or feel more pain and discomfort stop your exercise and reach out to a physician’s office like Waters Edge Medical Clinic to evaluate the situation and help you get back to walking again.
Don’t forget to Track your activity
A good way to help walking become part of your routine routine is to track your activity and also set goals for yourself. These goals could include walking 3x per week for 10 minutes. For the first week, followed by 4x the next week at 15 minutes. It could also include reaching a milestone, like walking two miles in 30 minutes.
Now there are so many ways to track your walking and exercise activity including watches with pedometers, to various apps. These devices now can calculate your heart rate, the steps you have taken and the distance you have walked. These can include Fitbits, Garmin watches, Apple devices and even an app called Mapmywalk.
Wear proper clothing and shoes
The best choice of footwear for everyday short walks would be proper walking shoes that are comfortable and give good support. For hilly terrain or rough surfaces look more into a correct hiking shoe. Ensure you seek the expertise of an expert at a reputable athletic or outdoor store for proper fitting. They will help you find the right shoe style and fit for the specific walking surface.
The right clothing will also depend on how far you are walking, the terrain and weather. It’s always a good idea to carry a waterproof jacket, water bottle and even your phone if you are walking a longer distance. All of this can be carried in a fanny pack or backpack. If you are walking in the heat, make sure you have on sunscreen and protective clothing from the sun. If it is cold outside or the weather can change easily make sure you are wearing multiple layers and are ready for any change in weather. Always remember to stay hydrated.
Don’t forget to cool down and stretch after walking with osteoarthritis
It is vital to add stretching and even some strengthening exercises top your routine. Stretching helps prevent further injury and helps ease stiffness. Strengthening obviously further strengthens surrounding muscles of the legs, back and core muscles. Strengthening and stretching the body helps with daily activities, overall health and wellness.
Receive Quality Care for Your Osteoarthritis
Managing arthritis is easier with a knowledgeable medical team like Water’s Edge Medical Clinic. We can answer your questions and help improve your quality of life.
If you’re interested in learning more about how a walking plan might be a good option to manage your arthritis pain, and you are looking to regenerate your affected knee or joints reach out to us and we will gladly help you get started. Fill out our contact form or reach out to us at 727-550-08955 for information on our orthopedic treatment options.