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Daily Walks Can Improve Joint Health and Decrease Pain

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Are you motivated to exercise but aren’t sure how to start? It’s easy to feel swayed by the latest diet, fitness machine or meal planning kits, but those fads are often a waste of money. The solution may not cost you a penny, and it’s as close as your front door.

Walking is a perfect exercise for people of all ages because it improves your joint health as well as your cardiovascular fitness.

Get Moving during National Move More Month

April is National Move More Month, a time to focus on getting active. Ever since ancient times, we have known that physical activity is essential for optimum health. It also can help manage arthritis and joint pain. Daily exercise, like walking, lubricates cartilage around the joints and reduces inflammation and stiffness.

Living an active lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated; it can be as simple as taking a daily walk in your neighborhood. National Move More Month encourages people to walk at least 10,000 steps per day or achieve 20 minutes of aerobic activity every day.

Use an Activity Tracker to Monitor Your Fitness

One of the best ways to monitor your exercise is by using a fitness tracker like a Fitbit or a smart watch. Fitness trackers keep record of metrics like daily steps, calorie burn, heart rate and blood pressure.

Most doctors follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines of 150 minutes of moderately intense activity and strength training two times a week.

Health Benefits of Regular Walking

Walking is an ideal exercise because it is gentle on joints but is still a cardiovascular activity. Anything that stimulates the heart, lungs and large muscle groups to work harder is aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. A vigorous walk does all those things. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight, which puts less wear and tear on your joints as well as your heart.

“The increased heart rate from walking will increase blood flow, which, in time, can help to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol,” said Robert Dolansky, DO, a board-certified osteopathic physician specializing in family medicine and an American Osteopathic Association board member. “It will also help to boost your mood and energy by releasing endorphins and increasing oxygen flow to all parts of your body.”

Dolansky said walking is a “gateway to better physical fitness.” It is also important to add resistance training and weights for bone health. This can be accomplished quite easily by carrying some hand weights or wearing small ankle weights during daily walks.

Individualized Care and Custom Fitness Plans

Because you have specific health needs, it is essential to work with your doctor to create an individual workout plan for your age, health conditions and fitness level. You may want to keep an exercise log for 30 days and show it to your primary care physician or orthopedist. Your doctor can assess your exercise regime and make suggestions to increase or modify your activity.

After your doctor has approved your workout plan, you get to do the fun part. You can decide how you want to motivate yourself. Do you want to create an energetic playlist? Or would you rather listen to your favorite audiobook? The possibilities are endless for making your exercise time enjoyable, challenging and fun.

An Orthopedist Can Help You Exercise Safely

If you are experiencing joint problems from common types of arthritis, sports or work-related injury, call an orthopedist for a consultation. Ignoring pain can cause additional stress on your joint if you do not see a doctor.

An orthopedist can take X-rays, perform tests and suggest treatment options to address your condition. You may need some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy or a procedure to regain strength and range of motion.

In some cases, your doctor may suggest total knee or total hip replacement surgery. Both are safe procedures and have high success rates.

We can help you find an orthopedic center near your home. Call today to make an appointment for a consultation. Your quality of life is worth the investment.

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