Should I Walk with Gout?
Exercise is one of the main lifestyle changes you need to make when living with gout. Exercise helps you lose excess weight that is putting you at risk for having high uric acid. Movement from exercise will also help strengthen your joints so they are not as affected during a gout attack.
Walking is one of the exercises you can do for gout, but it seems like the last thing you want to do considering that gout is a condition that mainly affects your big toe. You might be worried that walking will only make your gout symptoms worse.
However, walking is actually very good for you! It’s not as intense of a workout and yet it has an impact on your overall health. The main benefit is that it helps strengthen your joints. It’s even recommended for patients who have severe arthritis. You can definitely start walking today and make it a part of your daily routine.
Change Up Your Routine
Start in small increments to make sure that your body tolerates exercise well. Then slowly build up the speed or duration of your walk over time. It’s a great exercise to do because walking does not put too much stress on your joints which means you have a low chance of having an injury.
If you just had a gout attack, you’ll want to refrain from walking. This can only make the symptoms worse as the pressure from walking could hurt the affected joint. We doubt you’ll want to walk anyway since even the touch of a bedsheet can cause extreme pain.
After a few days, if you feel confident enough to start walking again, take precaution anyway. You might want to reduce the amount of time you exercise to help prevent the pain from getting worse. If you still experience pain while walking, cut back on the exercise until the pain goes away.
A good exercise to do when recovering from a gout flare is aquatic exercises. This is because you are not bearing all your weight thanks to the buoyancy of the water.
9 Good Walking Habits to Practice with Gout
Once you feel well again and you are able to exercise, you’ll want to implement some good walking habits. Here are nine you can work into your routine.
1. Wear the Right Footwear
Comfortable footwear is important whether you are exercising or not. Pay attention to your footwear, and make sure that it accommodates all your toes comfortably. If it’s too tight or too loose, it can affect the way you walk. You might end up putting more pressure on your joints if you wear the wrong footwear.
You may need to buy a bigger size shoe if you plan to wear thick socks. For the best choice, you’ll want to shop in the afternoon where your feet are at their biggest. Bring your socks too! This ensures you get the right size of footwear that won’t pinch or put pressure on your feet.
2. Walk at a Comfortable Pace
Don’t pressure yourself to walk too fast. Again, you should be starting slow and at a pace you are comfortable with. Once you are confident, you can slowly build up speed so you can increase your heart rate.
Walk just fast enough that you’re still able to carry a conversation. If you can’t, you might be walking too fast. After an intense walk, you should also be warming down, so your body doesn’t get shocked by the sudden inactivity.
3. Walk Correctly
There is a proper way to walk, and it should be followed for you to fully benefit from this exercise. While walking, keep your head up, your back straight, abdomen flat, and your arms swinging freely. Pay attention to your feet and make sure that it should be in a rolling action as you walk; this means it should start from heel to the toe as you take a step.
4. Stick to a Schedule
One way to maintain a healthy habit is by sticking to a schedule. Find a time where you know for sure you are okay to walk whether it’s early in the morning before everyone is up or in the evening after work.
Be consistent with this schedule and you’ll never miss a workout. Your new habit will become second nature, and you won’t even have to think about it or resist the idea of walking.
5. Watch Where You’re Going
We live in a highly distracted world where it’s almost impossible not to see someone walking with a smartphone in front of their face. As busy as you might be, you should always make time for undistracted walking.
This means paying attention to where you are going and being alert with your surroundings. Too many trips and falls have happened because someone wasn’t looking at where they were going.
6. Stretch Before and After
Even for a low impact exercise such as walking, you should still be stretching. This will allow ease of movement, so you are able to walk comfortably every time.
7. Stay Hydrated
Exercises such as walking can still be dehydrating, especially when you do it during warm weather. Make sure you are replenishing with water. Drink enough before and after your exercise to avoid getting dehydrated.
You’ll also want to make sure that you are wearing appropriate clothes. If it’s warm, wear light, thin clothing. If it’s cold, wear thick and comfortable clothing.
8. Wear a Pedometer
If your problem is lack of motivation, consider getting a pedometer. This device tracks the number of steps you’ve taken. When you see how much you’ve walked that day, it might encourage you to keep it up or even beat your record. Most smartphones have a built-in app that will do this for you.
Track your improvement overtime and watch your health improve as well!
9. Check with Your Doctor
Gout is a serious medical condition and should not be taken lightly. If you have recently experienced a gout flare or have an injury because of it, you’ll want to speak with your doctor first before starting any exercise.
They’ll be able to advise you on how you should go about your walking regimen.