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Arthritis Ireland suggests "Putting Your Best Foot Forward in 2014"

Fed up with the same old tired New Year’s resolutions? Sick of sticking to strict diets or stringent exercise regimes that you get no joy out of?

Stephen O'Farrell, Communications Executive at Arthritis Ireland, explores a New Year's resolution which can be fun - and great for your health at the same time - on the Arthritis Ireland website.

Too often New Year’s resolutions become unenjoyable, unattainable and unhelpful targets which are promptly discarded before the end of January. But they don’t have to be such a pain. In fact they can be a source of confidence and satisfaction when you find something that’s fun that gives your health a boost too.

Arthritis Ireland Walking Groups were designed with exactly that ethos in mind. These arthritis-friendly groups provide you with the confidence to get walking in a fun and encouraging environment among other people living with arthritis in your community.

We all know that walking is good for us but for people with arthritis it is even more crucial as it reduces the pain and inflammation caused by the condition.

What are the benefits of walking with arthritis?

Walking has many physical benefits. The chemicals released in the brain during exercise reduce pain, plus it is a great way to lower inflammation without the side effects associated with medication.

It can also:

  • lower blood pressure
  • lessen joint pressure by building muscle strength
  • decrease the risk of stroke
  • keep excess weight at bay
  • give the brain a boost

Why join an Arthritis Ireland walking group?

The Arthritis Ireland Walking Groups are specially designed for people with arthritis and are run in communities across the country.

Most of the walking leaders have experience of living with arthritis themselves and this helps to foster a supportive and encouraging group spirit. Leaders are trained in techniques needed to facilitate walking groups. They will teach you how to get the most from your walking sessions by looking at things like posture, warm-up, stretching and clothing.

They are also a great source of encouragement for people striving to reach their walking goals!

Walking in a group will give you:

  • safety and security
  • motivation
  • opportunity to meet other people
  • supportive group format that caters for range of abilities
  • social interaction and an excuse for a gossip or a chat!

What can I expect at a walking session?

No matter what type of arthritis you have and what your level of ability is, the walking groups are designed to suit you. A walking session will generally follow the format below:

  • The Screen: your leader describes the session planned and checks everyone is willing and able to participate
  • The Warm Up: to lubricate the joints and warm up the body
  • The Walk: 30 minutes – 1 hour in duration
  • The Warm Down: slowing the pace and stretching exercises to prevent any stiffness
  • The Natter: all our walking groups enjoy a social aspect, whether it is in the pub or over a cuppa!

My local group

Arthritis Ireland currently have walking groups taking place in communities all over the country. Click here to find your local group now.

If there is no group in your area or you would be interested in getting even more involved, you may be interested in signing up to become a walking leader. As a leader, you will be trained in the techniques needed to lead and facilitate these weekly walking groups. Call Arthritis Ireland on 1890 252 846 for more details.

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