How much are you walking each day? Whether you are just walking or wheeling to the mailbox or to the end of the driveway to get your paper every day, or if you are actively making an effort to go on a walk most days of the week, most of us spend more time than we think on the move. This is important to our health! The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (CDC) recommends that all adults, even those with disabilities, get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity, aerobic physical activity (such as brisk walking) per week.
Getting physical activity is so important to our health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released information in May that working age adults with disabilities who are not physically active, are 50 percent more likely than their physically active peers to have one or more chronic health conditions.
Adults with arthritis may already be experiencing limitations in their personal life or work life. In the 2011 BRFSS, (CDC) 51.6% of Missouri adults with arthritis reported activity limitations and 41.4% reported work limitations as a result of their arthritis (MAOP, 2012). We know that Missourians who have diabetes and heart disease, are likely to also have arthritis (55.5% and 64.1%, respectively) (MAOP, 2012).
So, we know that physical inactivity is a problem for our health, especially for adults with disabilities. We also know our recommended weekly physical activity. Thinking about walking 150 minutes per week can seem like a daunting task. Perhaps we break it up into 10 minute increments. 15 times during the week, we can walk briskly for 10 minutes at a time. If we walk Monday – Friday in the morning, around lunchtime, and in the evening for 10 minutes at each time, we'll hit our 150 minutes each week with ease!
Maybe you want to do better tracking of how much you are walking and how far you are walking. You can use a pedometer or activity tracker to determine how many steps you are taking and what distance you are going. Stopwatches and tracking logs can also help you keep track of how long you are walking. A new study even suggests that using a pedometer can help keep track of the number of steps that you are taking, and that shooting for a goal of 6,000 steps per day (which includes household steps and walking while grocery shopping) is a good target, especially for people with a form of arthritis impacting their knees. According to these researchers, "[p]eople who walked 6,000 steps a day on average were less likely to have problems standing, walking and climbing stairs two years later" (Schute, 2014).
If all of this seems overwhelming, perhaps you just need a smaller goal. Enrolling in one of the Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program (MAOP) and its seven Regional Arthritis Centers' (RAC) physical activity programs may be one of your first Steps to Better Health. The RACs offer a walking program called Walk With Ease that meets you where you are currently with your physical activity. The program helps build you up to at least 30 minutes of walking, and includes important information on stretching, warming up, and cooling day.
Sign-up today for a group Walk With Ease class by contacting your RAC. You can also register online if you would like to participate in the Walk With Ease program individually, either on your own or self-guided with a group of your family or friends. No matter what option you choose, make today the day you change your life and start walking for your health!