The Arthritis Foundation estimates that 1,083,000 of arthritis sufferers reside in Maryland. The Prince George’s Department of Parks and Recreation is determined to make a difference in the lives of its residents and the fight against arthritis. In an effort to empower residents to take an active role in their health and wellness, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is now offering the Walk With Ease program.
Developed by the Arthritis Foundation, this six-week program aims to help those suffering with arthritis better understand the condition, manage their symptoms, and increase their balance, strength, and walking pace. Focused on championing the fight against arthritis through advocacy and community, instructors provide information and tips for participants in addition to a walking regimen.
"I feel the difference. My pain has been minimized. I have more energy when I wake up. I have more motivation. I may not be able to walk as fast as some of the others, but I walk at my own pace and I'm okay with that. The more I walk, the better I get,” exclaimed one dedicated participant, Ms. Pamela.
Ms. Pamela is a county resident who, like many others, has combatted her fair share of health battles, mostly stemming from issues with her heart and arthritic hips. She decided to join the Walk With Ease program after her cardiologist gave her a sobering ultimatum — to complete a regular workout regimen or allow her condition to worsen, possibly leading to surgery.
Over the course of the six-week program, Ms. Pamela and the other participants used their Walk With Ease guidebooks and instructor to better understand their arthritis. They learned techniques for coping with pain and discomfort with exercise, kept a daily walking journal, and utilized stretching and strengthening exercises to maximize their performance.
By the end of the fifth week, participants were already noticing the positive mental and physical effects the program had on their lives. Ms. Pamela says the Walk With Ease program has been the best personal decision she has ever made toward improving her overall health and can't wait to tell her doctor what she has been doing.
“I really think she'll be surprised at my next appointment,” she said excitedly.
Though the program’s summer session has ended, many participants have established a camaraderie and exchanged contact information in order to stay active. Like Ms. Pamela, they have vowed to keep up their regular walking routine.
The M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is excited to continue the Walk With Ease program this fall.