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   Oct 04

Walking up to 6,000 steps or three miles a day ‘helps prevent arthritis’

Arthritis patients who kept active were more likely to be mobile years later

Walking 3,000 steps a day stopped arthritis symptoms worsening

Clocking 6,000 steps – roughly three miles – was beneficial, researchers said

Each extra 1,000 steps cuts the odds of a reduction in mobility by a fifth

Researchers said this could be because activity keeps joints lubricated

Steps can be taken when doing housework or gardening, experts said

Arthritis sufferers could keep the condition at bay by walking three miles a day.

Those who kept active despite having bad knees were much more likely to be mobile two years later, a study found.

Some 3,000 steps a day helped, but 6,000 steps a day, or roughly three miles, was ideal.

Researchers from Boston University in the U.S. said people with arthritis in their knees should wear a pedometer to measure the number of steps they take, in the same way as someone on a diet regularly weighs themselves.

Arthritis sufferers who walked 6,000 a day were more likely to be mobile two years later, with every extra 1,000 steps cutting the odds of a reduction in mobility by a fifth, U.S. researchers found

The study involved almost 1,800 men and women with osteoarthritis of the knee or judged to be at risk of it.

Some eight million Britons have osteoarthritis, the most common form of joint disease.

Stiff, swollen and painful joints can make walking difficult. Everyday activities such as washing, dressing, turning keys and opening jars can also be a struggle.

Participants in the study, who were aged between 50 and 79, wore pedometers for a week and the number of steps they took each day was logged.

Their walking speed was timed and they filled in a questionnaire about how easy they found tasks such as walking and dressing.

They filled in the survey again two years later and underwent a second walking test, to check if they had slowed down.

Few of those who had clocked up more than 3,000 steps a day – roughly a mile-and-a-half – had dramatically worsened.

And walking at least 6,000 steps was particularly beneficial, the findings published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research showed.

The result could not be explained simply by those who were fittest at the start of the study declining more slowly than others, researchers said.

Overall, the more the adults walked, the better off they were two years later.

Each extra 1,000 steps cut the odds of a big reduction in mobility by almost 20 per cent – likely by keeping the joints lubricated.

Arthritis makes the joints stiff, swollen and painful which can make walking difficult. But experts said arthritis sufferers could make up to 6,000 steps doing the housework or gardening
Researcher Dr Daniel White said there is no need for people to go to the gym – the steps taken during activities such as commuting, housework and gardening all count.

‘We encourage those with, or at risk of, knee osteoarthritis to walk at least 3,000 or more steps each day, and ultimately progress to 6,000 steps daily to minimise the risk of developing difficulty with mobility,’ he said.

‘As clinicians, we should be promoting walking in our patients with knee osteoarthritis.

‘We should have them measure their physical activity with a pedometer, much like people measure their weight with a scale.’

Professor Alan Silman, of Arthritis Research UK, said: ‘Exercise such as walking is vitally important for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, as long as they wear sensible trainer-type shoes with soft, thick soles and pace themselves.’

He said using a walking stick can reduce pain, adding: ‘Many older people … are worried [walking] will make their osteoarthritis worse, but we want to encourage them to keep doing the things they love.’

Source: Daily Mail

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