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Once you’ve begun walking daily, you might feel the occasional twinge of pain in your knees. Or perhaps someone has told you that walking or jogging can ruin your knees. That was common thinking a few years ago, but we now know that exercising at a moderate level should not cause this type of harm. In fact, it might even help to protect your joints!
Running has actually been linked with stronger bones, as with weight lifting and other activities. So it stands to reason that walking would have a similar effect, or at least not weaken your bones.
Now, a new study has shown that runners do not experience a high rate of osteoarthritis in the knees, contrary to popular belief. The study demonstrated that the body is able to repair damage to cartilage, and in fact can actually develop stronger, thicker cartilage in response to regular exercise. Unless you’re pushing yourself beyond reasonable limits, a moderate exercise program will be good for your body.
So, you probably don’t have to worry about osteoarthritis resulting from a simple walking program. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t experience knee pain from time to time. Short-term injuries can and do occur, even in very fit people. Remember to warm up properly, use correct form, and wear good, properly fitting walking shoes. Stop exercising if you feel pain, and consult a doctor if you suspect injury.
Carrying a higher body weight can indeed place additional strain on joints, but that’s why you’re following an exercise program and weight loss plan! Come see us before you begin a regular walking (or other exercise) program, and we will discuss the right amount of activity for you. We can also screen you for any underlying conditions that might raise the risk of injury during exercise, and help you to learn about proper form and ways to protect yourself.