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Walking is a natural and essential part of our daily lives, and it comes with a surprising array of health benefits. As we age, the way we walk can also bring significant advantages in preventing falls and relieving arthritis symptoms. Here’s why you should put on your most comfortable, supportive shoes and get moving.

How Walking Helps to Alleviate Arthritis and Prevent Falls

Walking regularly — and doing so with good form — can help you prevent injuries or falls while also reducing arthritic pain and stiffness and improving your overall health:

  • Low-impact exercise: Walking builds strength and endurance while remaining gentle on the joints, making it an excellent form of natural pain relief for arthritis.
  • Improved circulation: Even a simple neighborhood stroll boosts blood circulation and oxygen intake, delivering essential nutrients to joint cartilage.
  • Stronger muscles: Strengthening muscles around the joints provides them with greater support and protection, reducing the risk of strains and sprains.
  • Weight management: Regular walking can help you achieve and maintain an ideal weight, decreasing the load-bearing strain on your joints.
  • Enhanced flexibility and balance: Frequent walks help seniors avoid falls and injuries thanks to strengthened muscles, greater flexibility, improved joint health, and an improved sense of balance.

How to Walk Properly

Here are some expert tips for using proper walking form:

1. Perfect Your Posture

  • Stand tall. Avoid slouching in the shoulders or leaning forward from the waist.
  • Look up and ahead. Avoid looking down too much to prevent neck and upper back strain. Keep your gaze focused about 10 to 20 feet in front of you.
  • Keep your shoulders down, back, and relaxed.
  • Keep your pelvis in a neutral position. Avoid leading with your stomach or arching your back.
  • Use proper foot placement. Focus on quicker, not longer, steps; consciously push off the toes to generate a boost at the end of each step. This will help you develop a proper walking gait.
  • Step lightly and smoothly. It’s walking, not running or marching. Use a smooth, rolling motion, keep your footfalls light, and don’t try to achieve large strides by overextending your legs.

2. Arm Movement Matters

  • Bend your arms. Keep your elbows at a right angle for a quick, compact arm swing. Your hands should trace an arc from your waistband to chest height.
  • Use natural arm movements. Allow your arms to swing from your shoulders, not your elbows. Don’t swing them across your body or above your chest.

Walk With Ease With Spectrum Community Services

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives.

Visit our website for more information on our Fall Prevention Program, which offers fitness classes for senior citizens, including our Walk With Ease class. Contact us today to relieve arthritis, build strength, and help prevent injuries!

Alternatively, consider supporting our work by attending our Twilight Tasting event on Thursday, September 21st, 2023. Can’t attend? We welcome donations all year round!