Sponsored By Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation

Arthritis does not need to interfere with living an active life. The National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), in association with Miami-Dade Parks, will offer free activity classes designed especially for arthritis patients. “Learning how to manage the disease makes a big difference on your quality of life, and having access to arthritis intervention programs is crucial,” said Dr. Sarah Messiah, Ph.D., M.P.H. University of Miami Research Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis affects more than 50 million children and adults in the United States. There are more than a hundred different types of arthritis with varying symptoms. Miami-Dade Parks’ experts know first-hand that participating in exercise programs helps  increase physical strength, boosts activity levels and elevates mood. Many arthritis sufferers do not participate in regular physical activity, even though the Arthritis Foundation recommends it for a number of health benefits. The new arthritis intervention program starts May 1. It will help arthritis sufferers deal with daily pain.

“These classes offer a way for folks to manage arthritis symptoms without compromising an active lifestyle,” Eric Hansen, manager of Recreation Planning and Program Development for the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department said. “The three programs which run six weeks each include, Aquatic Program, Arthritis Foundation and Active Living  Everyday.”

Walk With Ease

The Walk with Ease program teaches participants how to safely make physical activity part of their everyday life. Participants may use a workbook to guide them through the self-directed program, or they can participate in a six-week group program led by a trained leader. The information and strategies used are based on research and tested programs in exercise science, behavior change and arthritis management. The Arthritis Foundation has proven that this program increases balance, strength and walking pace, as well as reduces pain. Data is available in a report from the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina.

Aquatic Program

Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program (AFAP) classes are conducted by trained instructors and include range of motion, stretching, breathing and light aerobic activities in the water. The six-week program typically meets two or three times per week for one hour. This program is designed for anyone with arthritis, related rheumatic diseases or musculoskeletal conditions.

Active Living Every Day

Active Living Every Day helps individuals make changes in their everyday life so that active living is possible. The behavior change program is also six weeks and teaches how to set realistic goals, avoid pitfalls and get support for becoming active.

Research has shown that positive benefits occur in patients who combine strengthening exercises, cardiovascular exercises and coordination activities. The benefits in the three exercise programs include the following:

  • Reducing levels of pain, stiffness and fatigue
  • Improving strength, balance and flexibility
  • Improving the ability to walk from place to place independently with or without an assistive device
  • Improving the ability to function independently in daily living activities
  • Decreasing depression
  • Increasing self-efficacy and a heightened belief in self- help strategies for arthritis
  • Improving overall health status and social activity

Many of the programs offered by the Miami-Dade Parks’ Active Older Adults program, including Tai Chi and Enhance Fitness, are on the Center for Disease Control’s list of Intervention Programs or Recommended and Promising Programs.

“While current active older adult programming provides many ways for 55 and older individuals to socialize and energize, these new programs provided by NRPA deal specifically with issues relating to arthritis and will attract new participants to Miami-Dade Parks as well as benefit those already attending programs,” said Allan Tavss, Active Older Adults Program Coordinator and Advocate for Miami-Dade Parks.

Adults with arthritis no longer have to suffer with pain. If you are an arthritis patient, visit www.miamidade.gov/parks for more information or call Allan Tavss at 305.962.8393. Registration for the program is required. For  more  information  on  the  aquatic  program contact A.D. Barnes pool at 305-665-1626.

Above Content Provided By Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade Parks & Recreation

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