Move to Improve Arthritis

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More Americans are walking, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While the news is a step in the right direction, the report also highlights a need for many more Americans to join the movement. The Arthritis Foundation is joining a global effort on Oct. 12, World Arthritis Day, to encourage physical activity among people with arthritis.

“Arthritis now affects 50 million Americans of every age and it’s on track to affect 67 million by 2030,” says Arthritis Foundation President and CEO Dr. John H. Klippel. “The Arthritis Foundation is proud to join the arthritis community around the globe to mobilize and fight back against the unacceptable pain, limitations and economic costs of arthritis.”

As part of this effort, the Arthritis Foundation teamed up with the Ad Council to create a series of “Weapons of Choice” videos to highlight the importance of moving to improve arthritis pain. The first video features tennis pro, Brian Teacher, who won the 1981 Australian Open. Teacher was diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis at age 34 and has learned to manage his pain by staying active and playing the sport he loves. The subject of the second video, Robin Schaffer, fights her arthritis pain with water aerobics and helps others do the same as an Aquatics Program Leader at the Arthritis Foundation.

Importance of Movement
According to the CDC report, the number of Americans who walk at least 10 minutes at a time one or more days a week increased from 55.7 percent in 2005 to 62 percent in 2010 – a jump of about 6 percent. Among people with arthritis, the increase was about 4 percent.

“Being physically active is a giant step toward improving Americans’ health by lowering risk for arthritis, as well as other diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression,” says Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health Dr. Patience White. “We know that even small amounts of physical activity benefit people with arthritis by improving their mobility, reducing pain, increasing balance and strength, and improving their overall health.”

While Americans are moving more than in years past, the CDCreport also revealed fewer than half of all Americans are getting the government-recommended 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity like brisk walking to improve their health. Movement is especially important for people with arthritis and is one of the many ways to fight off arthritis. Walking, biking, swimming or even tennis can help reduce risk and improve pain.

Move to Improve
The Arthritis Foundation is taking steps to increase walking and physical activity to limit the effects of arthritis. As the nation’s leading cause of disability, arthritis affects one in five adults in the United States – more than 20 percent of the adult population. High rates of arthritis among people with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, make physical activity an even more important way to manage disease.

In commemoration of World Arthritis Day, the Arthritis Foundation is calling on the nation to:

  • >>Get Moving —The Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Easeexercise program is a great resource to start moving. It’s safe, easy and motivating. And researchers have found that Walk With Ease can reduce pain, increase balance and strength, and improve overall health.
  • >>Jingle With Us — Be one of the first 1,000 people to register for Jingle Bell Run/Walk between Oct. 10- 12 and receive a free gift. Participation helps raise awareness and funds to fight arthritis.
  • >>Wave With the World — If you’ve been touched by arthritis, join 50,000 people from 70 countries around the world waving in support of people with arthritis. Upload a photo at worldarthritisday.org/waving and post the photo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #WorldArthritisDay. Be sure to include a personal message about how arthritis affects you or someone important to you.

In addition, thousands of arthritis advocates will email and tweet First Lady Michelle Obama on World Arthritis Day with a request to talk about arthritis as she touts the benefits of movement and weight management in her Let’s Move!initiative. You can follow the action on Twitter with #WorldArthritisDay.

To participate in World Arthritis Day activities and to fight back against arthritis, visit arthritis.org/wad2012.