Arthritis: Exercise Helps Patients Cross Streets
Arthritis researchers say that a strict exercise regimen can allow those with knee osteoarthritis to walk fast enough to cross the street before the signal changes.
The study, published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, found that patients who increased their physical activity reported a significantly better walking function that allowed them to negotiate busy streets more safely.
Lead author Dorothy Dunlop and researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago performed an observational study of 2,500 people with knee osteoarthritis. They said 81 percent of those who were in the group that maintained the highest level of physical activity were able to cross an intersection at a speed of about 4 feet per second, allowing them to clear the road while the "walk" sign still flashed. By contrast, only 49 percent of the group with the lowest physical activity successfully crossed the street in time.
"This strong evidence that even a small increase in activity is related to better walking function," lead author Dorothy Dunlop said in a statement. "This should motivate people to get moving, even if they have pain or stiffness."
The federal guidelines for adults with arthritis suggest at least 2.5 hours of exercise a week, in 10-minute sessions of low-impact physical activity. Dunlop added that even if people can not meet these standards, they should still make an effort to increase their activity.