Health: 6,000 steps a day keeps OA lim­i­ta­tions away

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

As­tudy in the USA has shown that walk­ing re­duces risk of func­tional lim­i­ta­tion as­so­ci­ated with knee os­teoarthri­tis (OA).

In fact, the study funded in part by grants from the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health (NIH) and pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Rheuma­tol­ogy (ACR) jour­nal, Arthri­tis Care & Re­search, sug­gests that walk­ing 6,000 or more steps per day may pro­tect those with or at risk of knee of OA from de­vel­op­ing mo­bil­ity is­sues, such as dif­fi­culty get­ting up from a chair and climb­ing stairs.

Nearly 27 mil­lion Amer­i­cans age 25 and older are di­ag­nosed with OA ac­cord­ing to a preva­lence study by Lawrence et al. (Arthri­tis Rheum, 2008).

Pre­vi­ous re­search re­ports that knee OA is the lead­ing cause of func­tional lim­i­ta­tion among older adults, mak­ing walk­ing and climb­ing stairs dif­fi­cult. More­over, data from the Na­tional Health and Nu­tri­tion Ex­am­i­na­tion Sur­vey (NHANES III) state that 80% of OA pa­tients have some lim­i­ta­tion in move­ment, with 11% of adults with knee OA need­ing as­sis­tance with per­sonal care as­sis­tance.

While walk­ing is a com­mon daily phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for older adults, med­i­cal ev­i­dence re­ports that two-thirds of United States adults with arthri­tis walk less than 90 min­utes each week. “Our study ex­am­ines if more walk­ing equates with bet­ter func­tion­ing, and if so, how much daily walk­ing is needed to min­i­mize risk of de­vel­op­ing prob­lems with mo­bil­ity in peo­ple with knee OA,” said Daniel White, PT, ScD, from Sar­gent Col­lege at Bos­ton Univer­sity in Mas­sachusetts.

For the present study, re­searchers mea­sured daily steps taken by 1788 peo­ple with or at risk for knee OA, who were part of the Mul­ti­cen­ter Os­teoarthri­tis Study. Walk­ing was mea­sured with a mon­i­tor over seven days and func­tional lim­i­ta­tion eval­u­ated two years later, de­fined as a slow walk­ing speed and a Western On­tario and McMaster Uni­ver­si­ties Arthri­tis In­dex (WOMAC) phys­i­cal func­tion score greater than 28 out of 68.

Walk­ing an ad­di­tional 1,000 steps each was as­so­ci­ated with between a 16% to 18% re­duc­tion in in­ci­dent func­tional lim­i­ta­tion two years later. Walk­ing less than 6,000 steps daily was the best thresh­old for iden­ti­fy­ing those who de­vel­oped func­tional lim­i­ta­tion.

Dr White con­cludes, “Walk­ing is an in­ex­pen­sive ac­tiv­ity and de­spite the com­mon pop­u­lar goal of walk­ing 10,000 steps per day, our study finds only 6,000 steps are nec­es­sary to re­al­ize ben­e­fits. We en­cour­age those with or at risk of knee OA to walk at least 3,000 or more steps each day, and ul­ti­mately progress to 6,000 steps daily to min­i­mize the risk of de­vel­op­ing dif­fi­culty with mo­bil­ity.”

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