Stamping Out Arthritis Via Unique Mall-walking Regimen

A local partnership and grant have come together to launch a unique pilot exercise program starting next month in Kaneohe for people with arthritis, as well as those who just want to walk.

“This is a very exciting collaborative partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, Windward Mall and Pohai Nani Retirement Community,” said Judy Knutson, Pohai Nani’s wellness program director. She noted that the mall already has many walkers, and “it’s really a safe place.”

“Walk with Ease” is planned in a series of six-week sessions, welcoming a new group of up to 30 participants each time. It will be run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the mall, offering arthritis-specific programming by a certified instructor on the following dates: Oct. 22-Nov. 30, March 4-April 12, and Aug. 5-

Sept. 13. Fee is $25 and includes a kit (guidebook, workbook, pedometer, carry-all bag, and a reflective shoe wallet and slap wrist band).

“It’s open to any person as long as they can tolerate being on their feet for 10 minutes without increased pain,” Knutson added, “and who have consulted with their health care provider.”

Each class begins with a discussion of a specific exercise and arthritis topic, followed by a 10- to 40- minute walk, including warm up and cool-down exercises and stretches. Pohai Nani will host a free arthritis seminar from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 2, and will accept “Walk with Ease” registration during that time. The facility, located at 45-090 Namoku St., has held exercise classes for its residents for years, but is expanding that service to the general public with a grant from its parent organization, the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, “to promote programs and projects that benefit communities.”

Knutson pointed out that Hawaii has 236,000 people diagnosed with arthritis who must deal with pain daily. Walking programs such as “Walk with Ease,” she said, have been shown to reduce pain and discomfort, increase balance, strength and walking pace, build confidence to be physically active and improve overall health.

For more information, call her at 247-6111, ext. 1107, or call Jennifer Hee, Arthritis Foundation executive director, at 596-2900.