When you’ve got an injury, are suffering from the lingering effects of a past injury, or you’ve got a condition that causes pain in your muscles or joints, your natural reaction may be to avoid any physical activity that could worsen your pain. Well, don’t let that be your knee-jerk reaction. (Also, don’t go around jerking your knee so much!)
I know from firsthand experience that trying to get over an injury by being non-active and cutting off all physical activity just doesn’t cut it. I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that I sustained an ankle and knee injury from playing basketball and thought that my best route to recovery was to rest, but I was wrong. It only worsened.
When I started my job here at Human Solution, I was outfitted with a standing desk and a desk treadmill to work with every day. After only 2-3 months, I was beginning to notice the pain and discomfort in my ankle and knee had subsided due to my regimen of standing during the day as well as walking on my treadmill while working. After a few more months, my pain was non-existent. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about my workplace setup.
Seriously. I struggled with pain for months, even to the point where my knee hurt while I was just sitting in my office chair. In half that time I was able to almost completely rehab my knee by being more active at work.
Don’t just take my word for it. A national study conducted by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated that the recommended amount of activity – walking for at least 150 minutes a week – is beneficial to your health, even if you suffer from arthritis. Not only is walking a healthy, positive movement for your joints, it's also good for your heart, brain and really every other part of your body.
Alarmingly though, the same study found that 53% of people with arthritis did not walk at all for exercise, and 66% stepped outside for less than 90 minutes a week. That’s only about 12 minutes per day, which is hardly more than walking to get your mail every day. Essentially, two-thirds of all people with arthritis just simply aren't getting enough daily or weekly physical activity.
Walking isn’t the only form of exercise that can help stop the pains of arthritis. Strength training, water-based exercise and balance therapy were also among the most helpful activities for reducing and managing pain, and in turn, improving function.
Of course, waiting until you actually have arthritis to exercise is not recommended. You can always start early and take preventative steps to keep your muscles and joints strong and healthy as you age. By keeping up with my routine of standing and walking at work, I am doing myself a huge favor in the office, where I spend 40+ hours a week. By keeping active at work, I am also putting my body to work instead of just sitting and being completely sedentary. My knees thank me for it.
Visit TheHumanSolution.com for more information on how to incorporate walking into your workday to combat arthritis.