Fitness That Fits You
Hiking is a great form of exercise for people with arthritis, and is possible for anyone at any fitness level. Hiking delivers the soothing, relaxing benefits of breathing fresh air, observing interesting scenery and communing with Mother Nature.
Besides the metaphysical benefits of hiking, trail walking is a great aerobic exercise. It improves your heart and lung health, helps control weight, strengthens muscles, and builds denser bones. What’s more, a regular walking routine compresses and releases the cartilage in your knees, helping circulate synovial fluid that brings oxygen and nourishes your joints and removes inflammatory waste products.
Specific modifications will depend on your joints affected, but you may consider the following.
- Use trekking poles or a walking stick to help disperse your body weight.
- Carry a waist pack or light-weight daypack with a hip belt.
- Wear supportive braces and devices, if prescribed: knee and ankle braces and shoe inserts.
- To ensure success in hiking, warm-up, stretch, cool-down and stretch again after your hike.
- Proper footwear helps distribute load on your weight-bearing joints. Hiking shoes or boots should fit well and provide support and comfort.
- Start slowly and increase your activity level gradually over time.
- Start on more level, even trails and gradually increase your hike distances and difficulty as you become stronger and fitter.
This is general hiking information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.