Winter Walks: Getting out when living with Arthritis

The lull between Christmas and New Year is a popular time for people to go out on winter walks with friends and family.

Research conducted by We Are Undefeatable revealed that 73% of people living with a long-term health condition (LTHC) feel their physical activity is limited during winter due to the weather. Although getting out in winter can be more challenging for those living with a LTHC, wrapping up warm and getting out in the fresh air, even for just a short period, can have a beneficial impact on both mental and physical health.

For those living with Arthritis, like Leony, a We Are Undefeatable case study, walking has become a key part of managing her condition. Although extra precautions need to be taken during winter months, there are benefits of keeping moving even as temperatures dip.

Versus Arthritis, one of the 15 leading health and social care charities that make up We Are Undefeatable, has shared some tips for those looking to get outdoors over the next month:

Tips for getting walking in winter from Versus Arthritis

  • Aim to start slowly with a manageable walk each day, thinking about what works with your daily routine. For example, moving around the house, walking the kids to school or arranging a walk with a friend.
  • A good way to help get walking part of your routine is to set yourself goals. For example, a 10 minute walk every other day or a set distance you’d like to achieve each week.
  • Make your routes interesting and try urban and green space options – depending on what’s most accessible where you are.
  • The right clothing will depend on how far you are walking, the terrain and weather. To keep warm wear layers that you can easily take off as you warm up and put back on when you cool down.
  • Using crutches, walking poles or a stick can help with pain, balance and your posture. You could try Nordic walking, it’s very good exercise for the joints and by using poles you have extra support.

 

Leony’s Story 

After having two knee replacements to help with her rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, Leony fancies herself as a ‘bionic woman’. Although she jokes that she still can’t touch her toes, she has lots of activities she can do with her family to keep her moving. Leony has found walking is a new way of life after her knee surgery. After her procedures, Leony started slowly and gradually built up her daily activity levels. She enjoys walking with her family when they can, she isn’t afraid to go without them if they slow her down!

“I suffer from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. For five years I had been having knee injections to relieve the pain and allow me some measure of mobility, but then injections no longer helped. The mobility in my life had been affected so badly that I remember clearly to this day when my daughter said to me that, “Mum after losing two aunts and seeing you not moving, I can’t lose you too”.

 Therefore, I was given two total knee replacements. After having a kick in the behind, as it were, I decided to start walking, half a mile at a time. I started to walk further and further, dropped the canes and started walking faster and further each day. And that has literally transformed my life.” 

 

Find out more about Leony’s story in the video here. 

Find out more about exercising with arthritis and what types of movements are beneficial for certain conditions here. 

We Are Undefeatable is a campaign developed by 15 leading health and social care charities with funding from Sport England and the National Lottery, that supports those living with a range of long-term health conditions to find a form of movement that works for them.

About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4416 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.