Not all arthritis patients are affected equally; according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), African Americans and Hispanics with arthritis are twice as likely to report work limitations and severe joint pain as whites. While the reason for such racial disparity is unknown, one thing seems clear: Finding a therapy that is effective for individuals who are more severely impacted by the condition is an important area of research.
See more on the CDC’s study at www.cdc.gov.
The Walk With Ease Program
One of the best ways for anyone to remain active or begin an exercise program is to set a realistic goal. If you think you have to hit the gym hard five days a week in order to be physically fit, you’re not likely to follow through. Realistic goal-setting is even more important for people with chronic pain conditions; the feeling that one can’t exercise is a primary cause of not exercising, and the understanding that gentle exercise counts can motivate healthy lifestyle changes, whatever an individual’s physical limitations.
The Arthritis Foundation developed the Walk With Ease Program to encourage patients to keep moving with one of the most basic and simple forms of exercise: walking. The point of the program is to help patients develop individualized walking plans that make sense with their lives and physical ability levels. The six-week course is offered both in a community setting through classes and as a self-guided course. Online tools are available to help patients participating in the program set goals and track their progress.
See more on the program at www.arthritistoday.org.
Recently, researchers sought to assess the effectiveness of the Walk With Ease Program for 117 African Americans with arthritis. Participants chose whether to pursue the program individually or in a group setting. Immediately following the six-week program, improvements were found in the areas of pain, stiffness and fatigue for both groups. At one year, improvements in pain and stiffness remained. Participants were generally satisfied with their programs.
Find the study at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
An individually-tailored walking program may be beneficial to patients with arthritis, and this holds for African Americans, who are more severely affected by the disease. Walking serves as one more tool patients can add to their list of safe arthritis management techniques.