95% of healthcare decisions take place in kitchens, on sidewalks, in restaurants, and anywhere OUTSIDE the medical setting. Clinical Health Coach is pleased to introduce this regular feature to equip health coaches, care coordinators and the entire team with evidence-based resources available to patients in their communities and across the country.
Walk with Ease Program
By Trina Radske-Suchan, PT, CSCS FMSC
Community Health Partners
“Walking is the most studied form of exercise, and multiple studies have proven that it’s the best thing we can do to improve our overall health and increase our longevity and functional years,” says Robert Sallis, M.D., a family physician and sports medicine doctor with Kaiser Permanente.
The Arthritis Foundation developed Walk with Ease (WWE) to encourage people with arthritis to start walking to better manage their pain and stay active. But it has also been found to be a great exercise program for a broader audience as well.
- Individuals with health risks or chronic conditions
- Sedentary individuals or beginners to exercise
- Individuals who are interested in weight management
- Individuals who enjoy walking and would like to join a group to make it more social
The WWE program offers relief, supports behavior change and is proven to increase overall health among adults. WWE also offers proven opportunities to keep adults physically active and has been useful as an adjunct to clinical care.
There are two versions of the program.
- Group walking program
- Self-directed program
Both programs are 6-weeks in duration and the only criteria is that participants must be able to stand on their feet for 10 minutes without increased pain. If pain is limiting, then a referral to a physical therapist to evaluate a participant’s condition is recommended. A physical therapist will create a plan of care around safe participation in the WWE program.
WWE Group Program
In the group walking program, participants meet three times a week in groups of up to 15 people.
Classes begin with education that could include the following:
- Managing arthritis pain and stiffness
- Self-monitoring for physical problems while walking
- Anticipating and overcoming barriers to being physically active
- Getting and staying motivated to exercise
- How to build stamina and walking pace
- Goal setting
The certified WWE instructor takes the class through stretching and strengthening exercises and ends with a 10-35-minute walk as a group. Participants receive WWE guidebooks, educational materials and tools to supplement the group classes.
WWE Self-Directed Program
WWE self-directed helps people learn to walk safely and develop the habit of walking regularly. In Iowa, health coaches assist participants get started and experience success with the self-directed program. A health coach calls the individual and provides them with more details about the program and answers any questions they may have about the process. The individual is sent a WWE guidebook and is coached in how to get started with the self-test, encouraged to track a weekly walking log, and is directed to other resources such as the Arthritis Foundation mobile app that can link to Fitbit wearable devices, video instruction, message boards, and automated email alerts when milestones are reached.
The research has shown that both versions of the program decrease pain, stiffness and fatigue, decrease disability, increase strength, balance, and walking pace, and increase confidence in ability to self-manage.
WWE is a national program and classes are taught by an Arthritis Foundation certified leader in cities all over the country. To find a class near you, locate your local office, or call 800-283-7800. You can also learn more about becoming a certified leader. In Iowa, the WWE program is offered through Community Health Partners. To refer an individual into either program, call 515-512-9225 or visit https://my-chp.com