Even a little exercise can help with arthritis

Primary tabs

Even a little exercise can help with arthritis

A new study finds that just a little physical activity seems to go a long way toward helping older adults with arthritis remain able to do daily tasks, a new study finds. Arthritis is a condition indicated by inflammation of the joints causing pain and affected movement. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, caused by wear and tear of cartilage that protects the joints. Older adults are most commonly affected by arthritis. As rigorous physical activity can be difficult for many older adults with arthritis, it can help patients better manage their condition and maintain physical functioning. Also, exercise can reduce the risk of other health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Dunlop D, et al found that doing even about one-third of exercise what is ideally required would be beneficial. The study analysed the data of 1,600 adults from Osteoarthritis Initiative – a nationwide research study that aims to identify prevention and treatment strategies for patients with knee OA. All participants had pain, aching, or stiffness in joints of the hips, knees, or feet. The physical functioning of each subject was assessed at study baseline and 2 years later through self-reported outcomes. Physical activity and functioning were also measured using movement-monitoring accelerometers.

Those who did a minimum of 45 minutes of moderate activity such as brisk walking were 80% more likely to improve their physical functioning than those who exercised for under 45 minutes weekly. The findings applied to both men and women with arthritis of the lower joints.

To remain functionally active, older adults with arthritis need to keep moving. However, only one in 10 of them meet the 150-minutes-per-week guideline, suggests a media release from Northwestern University, whose researchers set out to determine a less overwhelming activity goal for this population.

First author, Dorothy Dunlop,  professor of rheumatology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said, "Even a little activity is better than none." He added,  “For those older people suffering from arthritis who are minimally active, a 45-minute minimum might feel more realistic.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. 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”.

It was reported that moderate-intensity activity rather than light activity, such as pushing a grocery cart, to be more valuable to promote future function.  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.


Arthritis Care & Research

Link to the source:


Original title of the article:

For Older Adults with Arthritis, Even One-Third of Recommended Activity Can Be Beneficial


Dorothy Dunlop

Exploratory, Osteoarthritis, Pain, Joints, Hips, Knees, Feet, Accelerometers
Log in or register to post comments