Arthritis - If You Can't Beat It, Join In. - Health - Alternative Medicine

Arthritis, a condition affecting 46 million men, women and children, can make everyday activities like getting out of bed, uncomfortable and little-by-little eliminate the fun activities that make us want to get out bed. Hiking, biking, dancing, running, horseback riding, swimming, golfing, visiting museums and shopping all require get up and go. Heck, even a simple walk can feel like more pain than gain as joints stiffen, swell and become increasing less cushioned and lubricated.

Is arthritis joint pain keeping you home alone and increasingly less active? Experts agree that's the last thing you should be doing for your mind or your achy joints. Isolation and inactivity depress the mind and the body; accelerating the progress of arthritis. visit

According to Mary Anne Dunkin, author of Five Walking Strategies for Fitness Success, you must, at the very least, walk. Walking "strengthens muscles, which helps shift pressure from joints and reduce pain. And repeated walking compresses and releases the cartilage in your knees, helping circulate synovial fluid that brings oxygen and nourishes your joints. When joints don't get this nourishment, they deteriorate faster."

Keeping arthritis sufferers moving is just one of the reasons behind the Arthritis Foundation's annual "Let's Move Together Walks." Others include befriending and mentoring others who are dealing with arthritis pain, raising funds for arthritis treatment, and promoting dog companionship as the optimal way to keep moving and enjoying life.

Arthritis Pain Support: Befriending & Mentoring

"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you." - Mother Teresa

The Let's Move Together Walking Events occur in the Spring and during the holiday season with the much anticipated Jingle Bell Run and Walk. These community events are opportunities to share experiences, strength, hope and humor while meeting people who could become regular walking buddies, coffee dates, or compassionate listeners.Mentoring others, referred to as type of "generativity" in Dr. Stephen Post's book, Why Good Things Happen to Good People, "will protect "our mental and physical health across an entire life span." Furthermore, Post encourages readers to "create a network of giving" because when we are helping others we are healing ourselves. Ever heard of the term "Helper's High?" It is real. Post tells us one of the reasons why is, "nature has ensured that we thrive - by making us feel good when we give."

Fundraising for Arthritis Treatment - Jingle Bell Run and WalkThe first step to raising fun and funds for the Arthritis Foundation is to visit , click on "Events and Programs" and select Jingle Bell Run and Walk. (While you're at it take note of other fun events including the Bone Bash, Joints in Motion, Dinners and Galas, and Golfing Events.)

Your next step is to find nearby Run and Walk events and register. Like the site says, this is "quick and easy" to do. Once registered, you can build a team by inviting friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to join in.

You do not need to be personally affected by arthritis to join in the fun. The fundraising part is easy too. You can set a fundraising goal, set up a free website and invite contributions from your team, Facebook friends or Twitter list. This is an on-line and off-line celebration!

Dog Walkers are Welcome

Would you believe that pets can have the same effect as Valium but without the side effects? That according to rheumatologist Virginia Byers-Draus M,D., Ph.D. who adds, "Pets bring activity, and from activity springs health."

A quote I modified from author G.M. Trevelyan describes my outlook perfectly, "I have three doctors, my left leg and my right and my dog pack." Aside from providing ever-ready walking encouragement and companionship the health benefits of dog ownership are well documented.

* Dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes a week compared to 168 minutes for those without a dog. - HealthyWomen.org

* Interacting and petting animals create a hormonal response in humans that can help fight depression. - News-Medical.net

* 70-percent of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun after getting a pet. - Cain, 1985

Are you are doggone lonely, i.e. dog-less, or with an elderly walking buddy that needs to stay close to the hearth? I have a couple suggestions - adoption or adoption. An easy online way to find that four-legged medic of your dreams is PetFinder provides links to shelters all over the county including your neighborhood rescue.

While there is nothing as cute as a puppy (except a kitten) it is not the best choice for a busy professional or neat freak! The easiest addition would be the twenty-something to low-senior aged pups, three to eight human years. Consider adopting a big, black dog as this group tends to linger and languish in shelters. This sad condition even has a name, "Black Dog Syndrome."

Final word. Arthritis doesn't have to be a sentence to be served or a battle to fight. With a little help from friends - friends in the know, friends who care, and furry friends - it can be a friendly reminder to keep moving, keep enjoying life, and a reason to help others do the same. In fact, it could be the reason you are in better physical and emotional shape than most "normal" Americans. Imagine that. Wouldn't be the first time a crisis is really a blessing. Will we meet at the Jingle Bell Run and Walk this holiday season? Hope so. If not, there's the Arthritis Walk, Bone Bash... Be seeing you soon.

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