Walk With Ease
The Arthritis Foundation Walk with Ease Program can be done by individuals using the Walk with Ease workbook on their own, or by groups led by trained leaders. Walk with Ease was specifically developed for people with arthritis that want to be more physically active but is also appropriate for people without arthritis, particularly those with diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions who need to be more active.
Self-Directed – 6 week walking program. Work up to walking at least three times per week and utilize all of the resources in the Walk with Ease workbook over a six-week period.
Group Classes – 3 times a week for six weeks (a total of 18 sessions). Depending on the physical capabilities of the group and the amount of time they spend socializing before and after classes, the average class session length may last as little as 45 minutes in the beginning weeks of the program but may increase to an hour or more as the group improves their fitness level. The standardized scripts for the class sessions suggest that the walking time progresses an additional 5 minutes each week, as the group capability allows. The recommended class size is 12-15 participants per leader. Groups may have more than one leader.
Walk with Ease is a multi-component program that also includes health education, stretching and strengthening exercises, and motivational strategies. All participants receive the Walk With Ease workbook. Both the Workbook and the class provide information on arthritis, managing pain and stiffness, tips on proper clothing and equipment, self-monitoring, what to do when exercise hurts, and how to overcome barriers. Participants are also encouraged to do stretching exercises when they walk and strengthening exercises twice a week. The program features motivational tools including self-tests, a six week contract and walking diary forms to help participants identify their needs and interests, to set goals and rewards, and to track progress.
Walk With Ease was recently updated and evaluated by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina. A rigorous scientific trial with 462 individuals from 31 rural and urban communities found that both the self-directed and group formats were safe and effective. Program participants experienced decreased disability; improvements in levels of pain, fatigue, stiffness and self-confidence; and better perceived control over arthritis, balance, strength and walking pace. Contact us today to bring these benefits to individuals in YOUR community.
If you’d like to offer Walk With Ease through your group or organization, contact us to get involved.