Good news for older adults dealing with discomfort in their joints, as just 45 minutes of brisk walking per week can benefit those with suffering from arthritis, so that they remain functional.
The findings, published in journal of Arthritis Care & Research, indicated that participants, who achieved this minimum of 45 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, per week were 80% more likely to improve or sustain high future function over two years compared with those doing less.
Researchers from Northwestern University wanted to determine a less overwhelming activity goal to get this population up and moving and 45 minutes per week was that magic number. The study, true for both men and women, found that approximately one third of participants improved or had high function after two years.
“Even a little activity is better than none,” said first author Dorothy Dunlop. “For those older people suffering from arthritis who are minimally active, a 45-minute minimum might feel more realistic,” Dunlop added.
Using sophisticated movement-monitoring accelerometers, the researchers measured the physical activity of 1,600 adults from the nationwide research study, Osteoarthritis Initiative, who had pain, aching or stiffness in their hips, knees or feet. “The federal guidelines are very important because the more you do, the better you’ll feel and the greater the health benefits you’ll receive,” Dunlop stated.
“But 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,” Dunlop noted. “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,” Dunlop said.
They concluded that moderate-intensity activity rather than light activity, such as pushing a grocery cart, to be more valuable to promote future function.