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The Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease program was developed specifically for adults who have arthritis and have been physically inactive but want to incorporate walking as a routine activity into their lives. Physically inactive adults who don’t have arthritis may also  find the program beneficial. In this program, participants:

  • Gain an understanding of the basics of arthritis and the relationship between arthritis, exercise and pain through the health education components;
  • Learn how to exercise safely and comfortably through the walking and exercise components; and
  • Develop and implement a doable personal walking plan and gather tips, strategies and resources to maintain an exercise routine through the motivational components.

This six-week program is available in two formats: instructor-led and self-directed. Both formats center around the Walk With Ease Guidebook that is available at www.afstore.org. Each participant should have a Guidebook in order to read assigned chapters, view and complete goal setting and self-assessment sheets, and reference photos of stretches and strengthening exercises.

  • In the instructor-led formatparticipants meet 3 times per week for class sessions that last 1 to 11/2 hours each time. This format is delivered by a trained and certified Walk With Ease Online training for leaders is available for $89 per instructor at: https://www.afaa.com/courses/arthritis-foundation-walk-with-ease.  Upon registering for the online course, trainees are provided with a PDF of the Leader materials (e.g. Walk With Ease Leader Guide, printable posters). Leaders do not have to be certified fitness instructors or health professionals, but they must have current CPR certification. Once the training is complete, an official WWE Leader certification is provided by the Arthritis Foundation.
  • In the self-directed format, participants read the Walk With Ease Guidebook on their own, completing the various tasks and walking as laid out in the book. They can do the walking on their own or through an “enhanced format,” which can include activities such as walking with a group one or more days/week, meeting with a group via video webinar, receiving motivational emails/texts, etc.  If offering the self-directed format in a coordinated and scheduled manner, program administrators can arrange for participants to walk together as a group with a leader one or more times a week even though they may be completing the reading and goal setting portions on their own. If you decide to hold walking sessions for participants, for quality assurance purposes, it would be ideal to have a certified Walk With Ease Leader guide the walking. During the walking, the Leader may also provide brief reviews of essential content from the Guidebook.  The self-directed format may also serve as an alternative for those who are unable to complete the instructor-led

To be eligible to take part in WWE, participants must be able to be on their feet for 10 minutes without increased pain. Individuals who use canes or walkers may be eligible for the program. If any potential enrollee is uncertain if they should participate in the program, or if you as the program administrator are uncertain, recommend that the individual consult their health care provider prior to starting the program.

A short 7-minute video introduction to Walk With Ease is on our Walk With Arthritis page and our OAAA YouTube channel.   This video is called “Class Zero” which means that it can be used as an orientation session (or part of an orientation session) held in advance of the first class or first week of the program in order to prepare registrants for what to expect from the workshop.  It can also be used as a marketing tool.  For example, it could be played on a loop in a lobby or lounge where potential participants congregate.

A one-hour Walk With Ease Informational Webinar (audio recording with slides) was designed and delivered to program administrators and is now available as a recording.  The webinar and this toolkit provide a strong foundation for program administers who are just getting started with Walk With Ease, or are looking to improve the implementation process and program quality.