May is Arthritis Awareness Month, a time dedicated to those who are suffering from the condition and to increasing awareness throughout the general public. It also serves as a great reminder of the importance of movement in our lives, no matter our current health, and gives us a chance to get outdoors to support organizations dedicated to research, support, and advocacy focused on the condition.
Arthritis is on the rise in the US and is considered the leading cause of disability amongst Americans. According to the CDC, over 40 percent of those diagnosed with a form of arthritis, or approximately 23.7 million individuals, have limitations to their daily activities due to their arthritis. As you can see, the need for research and support of these people is great.
Walk for the Cure
This time of national awareness is spearheaded by the Arthritis Foundation. During the month, the organization sponsors Walk for the Cure events all over the country, designed to get the community involved and help raise funds to support their nonprofit mission. And anyone can show their support and get involved.
You can choose to join a local 5K to help raise money for arthritis research, and other activities managed by the nonprofit or take signup with a team of friends, family members or coworkers. If you aren’t able to attend an event, you can always donate to your favorite team or directly to the Arthritis Foundation.
Why Moving is Important
If you suffer from arthritis, participating in physical activities can feel like a challenge. However, even as little as 10 minutes of exercise a day can help maintain function and mobility. Walking is often recommended because it isn’t overly strenuous, is fairly low impact, and requires no special equipment or space. Even a simple stroll around the block can be enough to experience some of the benefits of moving, including improved circulation and better lubrication of the joints.
Walking is great because you can do it at your own pace, and it is a perfect activity to share with a friend or family member too.
But walking isn’t your only option. In fact, yoga has been found to be highly beneficial to arthritis suffers thanks to its low impact approach and ability to increase flexibility and muscle tone. The key is choosing the right kind of yoga based on your physical condition. There’s no need to twist yourself into a pretzel or stand on your head to benefit from yoga. Instead, focus on a slow approach that prioritizes flowing movements, proper breathing, meditation, relaxation, and visualization.
You can experience benefits ranging from better circulation, increased joint stability, and even decreased inflammation. It is also common to experience lower stress levels and increased confidence. That means not only will you be doing something good for your body, but also something great for your mind.
Yoga is also a great class-based activity. Select an instructor who’s a qualified Yoga for Arthritis teacher, and you can get support and guidance from someone who understands the nature of what you are going through. Plus, you’ll have the chance to meet other yoga students who are doing their best to move with arthritis too. Having a community around you can be a wonderful thing, especially if your feel isolated by your condition.
So, why not give walking and yoga a try? You may be surprised at everything you have to gain once you decide to make a move.