New Research Suggests That an Hour of Walking Can Help Keep the Doctor Away

July 17, 2014 by No Comments

woman walking with dogAccording to new research, walking for an hour a day might help prevent disability and improve arthritis of the knee.

The study, submitted to Arthritis Care & Research by researchers at Boston University, suggests that people who have arthritis need to fight the urge to limit how frequently they walk. “People with or at risk for knee arthritis should be walking around 6,000 steps per day, and the more walking one does the less risk of developing functioning difficulties,” explained lead author Daniel White, who works in the department of physical therapy and athletic training at the University.

Many elderly adults with arthritis tend to avoid climbing stairs or walking because of the associated pain. Samantha Heller, an exercise physiologist, agrees with the study findings, and says that when she gets patients complaining about the joint pain walking causes, “I explain to them that the less one moves, the weaker the muscles get, and the less stable the joints are, increasing inflammation and pain.”

White recommends wearing a pedometer in order to keep track, and explains that people typically walk 100 steps every minute, which equates to roughly an hour of walking for anyone who wants to reach the 6,000 goal. The study examined nearly 1,800 people in order to figure out what the threshold was for walking. It’s fine for people to go over 6,000 steps — that is just the minimum if people want to be less statistically likely to develop disabilities, and improve their arthritis conditions.

The study found that, for every 1,000 steps a participant took, their functional limitations were reduced by about 17%. For those who suffered arthritis, 80% experienced less joint pain and stiffness after they began walking 6,000 steps. This could be potentially great news for the almost 27 million Americans who have arthritis. Osteoporosis is the most common form of arthritis, with 40 million Americans dealing with the resulting bone loss and joint swelling.

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