Brisk walking for just 45 minutes per week can improve knee function in people suffering from arthritis, according to a new study.
Federal guidelines suggest achieving 150 minutes of moderate activity per week to prevent premature death and serious illness, however only one in 10 older American adults with arthritis in their knees meet these guidelines.
Researchers at the Northwestern Medicine in US found that performing even a third of the recommended activity is beneficial.
They wanted to determine a less overwhelming activity goal to get this population up and moving and 45 minutes per week was that magic number.
About one third of participants improved or had high function after two years.
However, those participants who achieved this minimum of 45 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, per week were 80 percent more likely to improve or sustain high future function over two years compared with those doing less. This finding was true for both men and women.
“Even a little activity is better than none. For those older people suffering from arthritis who are minimally active, a 45-minute minimum might feel more realistic,” said Dorothy Dunlop, professor at Northwestern University.
“The federal guidelines are very important because the more you do, the better you will feel and the greater the health benefits you will receive,” said Dunlop.
“However even achieving this less rigorous goal will promote the ability to function and may be a feasible starting point for older adults dealing with discomfort in their joints,” she added.
Using sophisticated movement-monitoring accelerometers, researchers measured the physical activity of 1,600 adults who had pain, aching or stiffness in their hips, knees or feet.
“We found the most effective type of activity to maintain or improve your function two years later was moderate activity, and it did not need to be done in sessions lasting 10 minutes or more, as recommended by federal guidelines,” said Dunlop.
The study was published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research.