If you have arthritis, in home walking exercise can be extremely beneficial- but only if you are doing it the right way. There are specific movements that will help you to keep your joints healthy and relieve arthritis pain. The answer is actually NOT forwards walking or marching…Adding variety in your in home walking exercise can help you to unlock nagging, chronic joint pain so you can get on with your adventures.
Have you ever been told that walking is one of the best exercises you can do for arthritis pain, especially hip, knee, and low back?
Have you ever experienced more pain after you walked? Or more pain halfway into your walk?
Walking can be tricky when you are dealing with osteoarthritis pain. You need appropriate strength, stability, and stamina of your muscles to support your joints. Posture when you’re walking is also vital to success.
It’s interesting because in order to get better at walking, you likely don’t need MORE walking. Through experience in treating hundreds of patients, the key to walking may actually be moving in different directions, something surprisingly many of us lack…
In order to get results like these below, keep reading to find out how to make your joints like walking again:
The type of walking your arthritic joints like
As humans, we walk forward a lot. Everything we do is moving in a forwards direction. As you walk forwards for exercise too, your joints are likely sending out a pain signal to get you to change the activity!
Oftentimes I find people think that walking is one of the only safe exercises with arthritic joints. When in reality, walking may not be the most helpful- especially if you are dealing with bone on bone knee or hip pain.
Walking can make you feel good- loosening up your joints, promoting blood flow, and alleviating tight muscles. It’s not something you should rule out. Especially when you get up after sitting for a while, a walk can really do you some good!
But, there is a way that you can actually get more benefit out of walking.
When you work out in your home, there are lots of walking workouts out there that consist of marching movements. These workouts help to increase your heart rate and improve your stamina. But, what if there was a way that you could actually reduce your joint pain too?
So what type of in home walking exercise should you be doing?
One that includes sideways and backwards walking. Yup, I said it. Walking backwards. By including variety in your walking can actually help to unlock freedom from chronic joint pain from osteoarthritis.
Our bodies love to move in different ways, so the longer you spend moving forwards, your joints will likely get irritated.
Initially, walking in different directions may feel uncomfortable. This is because your joint may be saying…
Once your body gets used to moving in these different ways, you would be amazed how good your joints can feel. Your body learns to adapt. You are able to stress different parts of the joint- relieving the irritated parts.
So now the question remains, which in home walking exercise should you be following?
The new way of in home walking exercise
Instead of primarily walking for exercise, it’s time to switch it up!
It’s all about trying something new and the reward of seeing the results. Variety can be just the thing your arthritic joints are looking for!
⚠️ Please keep in mind, when moving in different ways, make sure you have appropriate support to ensure safety as balance may be challenged ⚠️
See the power walking sideways and backwards can have from these Arthritis Adventurers below:
You have options when it comes to incorporating this new variety into your routine:
- Complete sideways and backwards stepping before walking as a warm up
- Complete instead of walking, walking sideways or backwards down a hallway or along a counter
- Complete half of your normal walk and add sideways or backwards stepping in the remaining time
Walking sideways and backwards are not the only two options when including variety. Here are examples on how to include variety into your day:
- Side stepping
- Backwards stepping
- Banded reverse steps
- Lateral box step over with this step stool
- Banded forward and backward stepping with these resistance bands
The goal is to find movements that you like and those that make your joints feel good. There are lots of movements out there but these are some of my favorites.
Not all movements may feel great at first and that’s okay. Allow your body time to get used to moving in new ways. Only choose the ones that make you feel good.
With these new movements, you might feel uncoordinated at first and that’s totally normal. Coordination is an important skill to work on! Safety is key.
Don't forget about your feet
When walking, you do want to make sure your feet are well taken care of as well. They are your first point of contact with the ground and can dramatically impact the stress that goes to your joints.
I often get asked which shoes are best when walking. Keep in mind shoes are only part of the puzzle. Keeping your feet strong and mobile is equally as important.
If you have foot pain when walking, here is a video below that can help:
Alongside exercise for foot health, one of the shoe brands I trust as a healthcare professional and personally for my own feet is KURU. These shoes are designed especially for people that have arthritis with a special technology in the sole. You can check them out here.
You can also check out some other recommendations especially if you are exercising or working outside on concrete here.
Forward walking isn't bad
I do want to clarify that you do not have to give up forwards walking. I meet so many people who love walking both for physical activity and stress management.
Forward walking is not bad.
There are ways you can maximize the benefit of walking though, and decrease your overall arthritis pain by adding some of the movements from above.
One of the most popular ways to include variety is to complete a few exercises as part of a warm up or short workout prior to heading out to walk. Some popular ways to do this can be found in this video.
By doing so, you can likely increase the distance you are able to walk and decrease the severity of your joint pain.
With osteoarthritis pain, there are options for exercise and quite frankly variety is a must when it comes to finding relief!
How to find variety
I find that almost 9 out of 10 people I work with that have osteoarthritis aren’t getting enough variety. When working at home with an in home walking exercise program in particular. This simple thing actually could be contributing to pain and making it worse.
This could also be one of the reasons exercise may not have worked for you so far.
One of the biggest fears I hear is fear of injuring yourself when trying to incorporate different exercises. This is why I have created a step by step workout progression inside of Adventurers for Life.
Each workout will get you moving in different ways that are arthritis friendly You will start with the basics and progress to strength training and other higher intensity workouts.
Adventurers for Life includes many other vital aspects needed to reverse the severity of the symptoms of osteoarthritis while allowing you to live an active life. Pain doesn’t have to hold you back any longer!
Forward, traditional walking may not be enough to relieve your joint pain. You may actually be making your pain worse if you are lacking variety.
Ask yourself throughout the day, “how am I getting variety today?” Think about how often you found yourself moving side to side. Whether you are doing parts of an in home walking routine or walking outdoors- find ways to move in different directions.
You may be surprised at how much of a difference something so simple can make to your routine.
If you are looking to regain your active life but are unsure where to start, join the revolutionary membership, Adventurers for Life. This is a step-by-step path that not only will help you find pain relief but will help you unlock adventure. You’ll get workouts, tests to pass to make sure you are on the right track, community events and MORE.
Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site