Scientific studies have shown that physical activity can reduce pain and improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with osteoarthritis. Exploring the outdoors provides exercise for the body, stimulation for the mind and an opportunity to spend leisurely time with friends who share a love of nature.
Walking helps to improve cardiovascular fitness. It is within the physical capabilities of most, including people with osteoarthritis. If you have not done much exercise before, it is recommended that you see your doctor for a health check first.
A safety checklist for new walkers:
- Choose a walk that matches your fitness level
- Start with easy walks, if possible in fine weather
- Make sure you have the appropriate clothes and equipment (including food and drink) for the terrain and the expected weather. Light, comfortable walking shoes are important
- Do not walk alone and always tell at least one person the time you expect to be back
Joining a club can help make walking an even more enriching experience. In the company of more experienced members, you can make longer and more adventurous trips to build your fitness and strength.