Walk away from arthritis

It's clinically proven to help beat arthritis pain and restore physical function. It's not a drug or even a supplement. There's nothing to buy, no side effects and anyone can do it.

Yet most arthritis patients don't.

It's taking a simple walk, and walking exercise  it can do wonders for arthritis patients -- but new numbers from the CDC show that two-thirds of all arthritis patients do very little of it.

Now, I can certainly sympathize. When you're in pain -- especially the constant pain of arthritis -- the last thing you feel like doing is getting up and going for a walk.

Walking exercise may seem like a recipe for even more pain and misery.

But it's not. In many cases, you may start to feel better almost immediately just by getting up, stretching out and moving around. And over the long term, regular walking can actually reduce overall pain levels and even restore lost physical function.

Studies have shown that these benefits kick in with as little as 90 minutes of walking per week -- yet according to the new study, 13 percent of arthritis patients don't walk at all, while 53 percent say they walk less than those 90 minutes per week.

I know in some cases it's more than just an aversion to walking exercise. There can be some safety concerns, and many arthritis patients suffer from balance and coordination problems because of the condition.

But believe it or not, regular walking exercise can actually help reverse some of those problems as well.

If you're very unsteady, of course you shouldn't do anything to risk a fall -- but you don't have to stay seated, either. There are programs and walking exercise groups that can help.

Some of them are free, and they might even take place in your local park.

Your doctor should be able to point you in the right direction, or you can check in with your local parks and recreation department or senior center to find a walking program near you.