Gout can make it painful to walk — and painful to do much of any type of exercise. Even if you don't have podagra — the type of gout that affects the joints of the big toe — exercise can seem detrimental to your symptoms of swelling, redness, heat, pain and stiffness in the joints.
But the arthritis Foundation encourages working out in one simple way: walking. It's been proven to help symptoms of arthritic conditions such as gout. And while you could just go put one foot in front of the other, the arthritis Foundation offers the following tips:
Increase the Time Slowly
Outside or on a treadmill, start with an easy 10- to 15-minute walk if you've been
sedentary, and work your way up to 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day, five days a
Increase the Intensity Slowly
The rule of thumb is to not increase the time you walk more than 10 percent per week, so
plan ahead to know how long it might take you to build up to 30 minutes per day
Aim to exercise at the same time every day, and get back on track as soon as you can if you miss a day. Consistency will help teach your body what's coming, how to recover and how to handle an increasing amount of exercise.
Keep a Journal
Include a starting goal, a "mid-level" training goal and a "pro" training goal that reflect the various stages of your progress. Your written log should also include the
date, the distance of your walk and the speed of your walk. Try using a pedometer to help track your steps.
Join an arthritis Walk
Held across the country, these events are staged to raise awareness and money to fund arthritic conditions. You can choose a 1-mile or a 3-miie course. Even better? Participants are encouraged to bring dogs.
Step It Up
Once you've mastered a walking program and spoken with your doctor about additional specific exercise, the arthritis Foundation encourages the addition of
other fitness activities, including strength training, yoga and Tai chi. Look for workouts that include endurance, flexibility and strength.
If you have gout and you're trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight through methods other than exercise, the NIAMS advises to avoid low-carb, quick
Your body can't completely burn its own fat when you don't consume enough carbs, and in turn your body may form ketones and release them into the bloodstream in a condition called ketosis, which can increase the levels of gout-causing uric acid. Instead, add more low-fat dairy and Vitamin C-rich foods, which recent studies have shown may help prevent gout.
Regardless of the types of exercise or diet regimens you begin, start with a plan and build slowly toward your goals so that you're able to maintain the lifestyle you set out to achieve.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you're overweight, losing weight is key to lowering your risk for gout. Extra body tissue means extra uric-acid production from normal processes of breakdown and turnover. Talk to your doctor about what a healthy weight goal and plan is for you; in general, you can start losing weight by following a regular exercise program (gentle, low-impact exercise is best for arthritis sufferers) and eating a calorie-controlled diet rich in plant foods (especially vegetables) and reduced-fat dairy products with moderate portions of lean protein.