‘Walk with Ease’

Parks and Recreation exercise program will help those with arthritis
Dec. 14, 2013 @ 11:18 PM

Blah, yuck, phooey are the words that come to mind when I think about exercise.

Why? Almost 20 years ago, I was in a terrible car accident and broke both of my ankles. The doctor said that I would never walk normally again and that I would forever have problems. Boy, did I prove him wrong! With a series of physical therapy sessions and a determined mind, I gained full usage of my ankles.

But, as I age and the symptoms of arthritis creep in, it is increasingly difficult to find an exercise that does not cause physical pain. Swimming is the best option, and I do bike and walk, but always with the fear of what the aftermath will be. Soreness, swelling and simple pain are some of the things I experience. However, for those suffering with arthritis, I have good news to share.

Just in time for my annual new year’s resolution to exercise more, Durham Parks and Recreation will offer the Walk with Ease program to provide a new way to stay fit, even for those who suffer from arthritis. The program will be offered in January and February to help participants reduce pain and improve their overall health through a series of education sessions.

The Walk with Ease program was made possible through a $4,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Arthritis Foundation, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, walking and exercise have been scientifically proven to help reduce pain and stiffness often associated with arthritis. Studies by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging of the University of North Carolina have found the Walk with Ease program was shown to reduce pain, increase balance and strength and improve overall health.

Together, NRPA and the Arthritis Foundation aim to reach more people living with arthritis and help improve their quality of life through these trusted and measurable programs administered by local parks and recreation departments. Durham is one of 24 communities offering these programs across the country.  

“Arthritis affects more than 50 million Americans -- some of whom reside right here in Durham,” said Rhonda B. Parker, director of DPR. “This grant from NRPA and the Arthritis Foundation will allow us to help those who suffer from arthritis in our community and add a new way for Durham residents to achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

Durham residents also have access to DPR’s fitness facilities and classes. On January 6-12, residents can check out the fitness programs DPR has to offer without paying a dime. Demo classes, educational sessions, open gym, and water and land aerobics will be offered. Visit our website at www.DPRPlayMore.org, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DurhamParksandRecreation, or call (919) 560-4355 for details.

I look forward to seeing you in January as we “walk with ease” together.

Cynthia Booth is the public affairs specialist with Durham Parks and Recreation.