With the prevalence of arthritis projected to increase by more than 50 percent in the next 25 years, experts are urging Americans to get moving. Doing so could prevent or control joint pain and arthritis.
Arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability, affecting 66 million Americans. It strikes people of all ages, including 300,000 children. For the one in three Americans with arthritis, the pain and inflammation associated with this chronic condition can limit everyday activities such as walking, dressing and even bathing. It also comes with a stiff price tag, costing the U.S. $86.2 billion annually in direct medical costs and indirect medical costs, such as losses in productivity.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, practicing healthy behaviors now, such as increasing physical activity and maintaining an ideal weight, can help prevent or reduce joint pain and arthritis later in life.
“Walking is a great example of a simple activity we can do to promote health,” said Dr. Patience White, chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation. “A 30-minute walk most days of the week, or even three 10-minute walks, reduces joint pain and stiffness, builds muscles around the joints, increases flexibility and endurance and improves overall health.”
Dr. White adds that physical activity also promotes weight loss. For people above their ideal weight, losing as little as 11 pounds can decrease the risk of osteoarthritis or slow its progression.
Step In the Right Direction
To encourage individuals and families to get moving, the Arthritis Foundation will host Arthritis Walk events at more than 400 communities nationwide. The Arthritis Foundation event, presented by the Aleve brand, entails teams walking one- and three-mile courses on behalf of friends or family members with arthritis. Thousands of walkers participate each year, raising funds to directly support critical arthritis research, public health efforts and public policy initiatives.