Happy Arthritis Awareness Month!

Encounter at Catholic Charities


Did you know that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States?

It affects millions of people, but the good news is that there is a program that can help improve flexibility, strength, and balance — Walk with Ease!

Walk With Ease is a national program with an evidence-based curriculum developed by the Arthritis Foundation experts.

This six-week program, offered in partnership with Catholic Charities, the Arthritis Foundation, and the University of Missouri Extension, is designed to help those with arthritis manage pain and learn more about the condition and exercise.

Catholic Charities has been involved with this program since the year we don’t like to talk about (2020).

This program can be facilitated at no cost to the community.

I have been involved with this program as a participant and substitute session leader.

I participated in the summer of 2020, during which the program had to be adapted to fit the world during the pandemic.

The sessions were via Zoom, where the educational component was presented, but there would also be time to reflect with our classmates on what does and doesn’t work, share ideas, process what we have learned, and the list goes on.

It is a great opportunity for like-minded people to come together over a simple subject.

Our “homework” was to take what we had learned and apply it to our daily routine.

When the groups resumed in-person meetings, the sessions took on a new dynamic.

A significant portion of the session was dedicated to group walks, fostering camaraderie and allowing participants to enjoy the outdoors.

The educational components remained unchanged, but the added benefit was the sense of community.

The curriculum’s intended format is for sessions to take place three days a week for one hour.

The sessions consist of an established curriculum on topics such as the basic facts about arthritis, exercise, anticipating and overcoming barriers, and self-assessment to complete before and after to help accurately track the progress you have made.

The things you learn from attending these sessions can benefit you beyond completing the program.

The biggest takeaway from the program for me is to always stretch before walking or exercise of any kind and to cool down after exercise to help yourself recover.

While Walk with Ease is intended for those who struggle with common conditions such as arthritis, I am here to tell you firsthand that anyone can benefit from the program.

Catholic Charities is looking forward to future sessions, so be on the lookout.

For more information on Walk with Ease classes, please contact Catholic Charities at 573-635-7719 or visit cccnmo.diojeffcity.org/walk-with-ease.