The Rye Y Launches ‘Walk with Ease’

Arthritis Foundation Program Offers Relief Through Exercise and Group Support

Outdoor exercise has become a vital part of many fitness routines during this pandemic year, with the motivated among us buying new running shoes or dusting off the bike. However, exercise—indoors or out–is not so easy for older adults who are suffering from the pain and stiffness of arthritis. The Rye YMCA has stepped up to meet the needs of this growing population with Walk with Ease.

Launched on September 21, Walk with Ease is an evidence-based physical activity program shown to increase the physical, mental and social functioning of older adults, particularly those with arthritis. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a group of 13 men and women gather outside the Y’s main entrance for a few warm-up exercises before setting off on a one-mile walk around Rye. Led by Heidy Barros, the Y’s Community Health Coordinator and Karina Barreto, Community Health Assistant, both of whom were certified as program leaders by The Arthritis Foundation, the program is free for YMCA and community members.

New Rochelle residents Fay and Kenneth Schofield Doe, each in their 70s, joined the Walk with Ease class to get “much-needed exercise.” “We both find the program to be very helpful and fun,” Fay said. “Not only does this program get us moving, the Rye YMCA staff knows how to motivate and encourage the participants to go a little further each time. We look forward to getting together and seeing our guides and fellow walkers.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 52 million Americans have arthritis, including about half of all adults over age 65. Almost 23 million Americans report that the condition limits their physical activity, and members of racial and ethnic minority communities tend to suffer disproportionately. Research shows that Walk with Ease is proven to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritis; increase balance, strength, and walking pace; build confidence in one’s ability to be physically active; and improve overall health. In addition to the physical benefits, Walk with Ease focuses on providing a fun, social atmosphere that fosters relationships between program participants.


Funding to start Walk with Ease was granted to the Rye YMCA by the New York State YMCA Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports the 37 YMCA Associations across the state. Although the current class is full, Barros hopes to run another class in Spring 2021. For more information about the program, contact her at or (914)967 ext. 114.