By Rebecca Gillett, MS OTR/L, podcast host
On the latest episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast, Dr. Leigh Callahan shares the many benefits of walking and strategies to help you walk with ease. Listen today.
Walking may seem like such a basic function, that most people don’t give it a second thought. It takes the biomechanics of how your body works, together with your nervous system and brain, to get you from point A to point B. A toddler taking those first steps is a momentous occasion for parents. The next thing they know, that toddler is off to the races. It’s just part of what we as humans do, without thinking about all that goes into the ability to do it.
Until the day that you can’t. When you have so much pain in your joints that getting out of bed is excruciating. So, instead, you crawl to the bathroom or you slide down the stairs because that’s easier and less painful.
For people like us who have arthritis, this may sound all too familiar. Personally, I’ve done both of those things. When every step I took hurt, I’ve crawled to the bathroom because my feet hurt too much. I’ve taught young kids to slide down the stairs for fun, but I’ve done it out of necessity because my knees hurt too much to walk down the stairs.
When you’re in that much pain, the idea of going for a walk to get your joints moving can be daunting. When I can’t even walk to the bathroom, how am I supposed to go on a walk for exercise?
Well, luckily, we can take baby steps and still make progress. We can stretch and do some exercises while seated in a chair and work a little each day toward increasing the number of steps we take. Every little bit counts.
Struggling with the idea of making walking a part of your physical activity routine? In this episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast, Dr. Leigh F. Callahan, PhD, a scientist and professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will help you learn how to take that first step.
Dr. Callahan specializes in arthritis and outcomes research, physical activity interventions and health disparities. She helped develop the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease program and talks to Julie and me about the many physical and mental benefits of walking, as well as sharing tips and what you need to know to get started.
As an occupational therapist, I know the benefits of walking. I’m certified as a Walk With Ease instructor, and I have seen for myself how this program can make a difference in people’s lives. Listen to the latest Live Yes! With Arthritis podcast to hear about one especially meaningful success story — and learn how to make walking part of your arthritis management routine.