This plan helps you slowly increase the amount of time you are walking. This plan is just a general guideline — find what works for you and go with that (you may need to tweak your days or duration, depending on your fitness level and your schedule). If you’re only getting back to physical activity after a long hiatus, fear not, as this is a fairly gentle introduction, which gradually builds you up over a six-week period. If you feel well enough, adding in some stretching or resistance exercises, such as Pilates, yoga or home stretching/weight-bearing exercise twice a week would be really beneficial.
We now know, based on a wealth of scientific evidence, that the goal for good health is to reach 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as walking) each week. That equates to 2.5 hours of walking per week, which may sound like a lot but, when spread over 5 days of the week, that’s just 30 minutes each time (30 mins x 5 days), or else spread over just three days of the week, you could do 2 x 1 hour walks, with just 30 minutes on your third day – all achievable!
Our plan aims to build you from a very gentle place, to eventually reach your 150 minutes at the end of the six weeks. But we’re pretty sure, once you start feeling the benefits, you’ll want to continue!
The key to sticking with exercise is to be flexible – realise that some weeks may be bad weeks, where you might be in more pain than usual, or you may be feeling stressed, meaning you won’t get out for that walk after all. The key is getting back on track as soon as possible, without guilt, and with a positive mindset. Knowing that exercise benefits not just your health, but also your mood can be one of the biggest motivators to keep going – this is particularly relevant to someone living with a long-term condition like arthritis.
Remember how good it feels after a walk? Keep that in mind, particularly at times when you may not be in the mood, or when facing inclement weather. Put on the waterproofs and even get out for 15 minutes – your body and brain will thank you for it!
Aim to write these days and times into your diary or print this out and place it on your noticeboard. Having a plan in place means you’ll be much more likely to add physical activity into your life.
Please note that when we say, ‘power walk’, it simply means increasing the pace such as walking faster or swinging your arms more vigorously to get the heart pumping. If you’re unable, or your current pain or fitness levels only allow a gentle walk, then make sure to do just that – listen to yourself and your own body. This plan is meant as a guideline only. If you can work harder, then do but, if it’s too much, pull back on the duration or pace.
Our goal for you: If you reach the end of six weeks, and you have improved the amount of time you spend being physically active, then that is a wonderful result!
Total walking time = 1 hour
Total walking time = 1 hour and 15 minutes
Total walking time = 1 hour and 20 minutes
Total walking time = approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes
Total walking time = approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes
Total walking time = approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes!
You have now reached the gold standard recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate activity for good health. Now – aim to keep going (see tips below) and keep enjoying all the benefits! Or, if you failed to start properly, don’t be put off – start today or tomorrow!
Consider tracking your walk and speed with an app on your phone – there are so many options out there now. Or you could think about buying a simple pedometer to track your steps.
For orthotic support of your foot, you can buy our orthotics in our online shop, or if it’s ankle support you’re looking for, look no further than here
To find out more about physical activity guidelines for good health, visit HSE's guidelines
Look out for more blogs on physical activity soon. In the meantime, visit the physical activity section of The Arthritis Ireland website