TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, is offering a free, individual walking program for Kansans interested in walking more in 2012.  The Walk with Ease program is a six-week, structured walking program that teaches participants how much they should walk, how to increase walking pace and endurance and how physical activity can be a part of daily life. Establishing a walking program has many benefits, to include reducing the pain associated with arthritis.

“Arthritis is a chronic health condition that can be improved with exercise,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “Physical activity, with proper warm up and cool down, actually nourishes the cartilage between joints.”

Walk with Ease offers information and tools to help people develop successful walking routines and stay motivated to continue walking. The training includes the warning signs of exercising too hard, tips on when to increase the intensity of a workout, stretching and strengthening exercises and information on building stamina and walking pace. Walk with Ease is available to anyone (with or without arthritis) and can be modified to meet individual needs, so each person can develop an exercise routine that fits his or her unique goals. Information and strategies taught in Walk with Ease are based on research and tested programs in exercise science and behavior change.

“Walking can help manage weight, which can reduce your risk for arthritis in the knees, heart disease and diabetes,” said Lisa Williams, KDHE Arthritis Program Manager. “Walking also helps reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritis, increases balance and strength, improves overall health and increases participants’ confidence to be physically active.”

A group format of Walk with Ease is also available to individuals and organizations interested in hosting a walking class. A class meets three times a week for six weeks and is led by a certified instructor. For more information on Walk with Ease or to register for the free individual program, visit

KDHE’s Arthritis Program works to improve the quality of life of Kansans with arthritis through the promotion of proper self-management to prevent or delay the potential join destruction associated with the disease. For additional information on the Kansas Arthritis Program, visit