6,000 steps a day keeps OA risks away, study finds
Article date: 12 June 2014
People who struggle from or are at risk of knee osteoarthritis (OA) are likely to benefit from walking at least 6,000 steps per day, according to new research.
The study, carried out by experts at Boston University and published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, found that adopting this lifestyle approach could reduce the risk of experiencing functional limitation in the knees in later life.
This could potentially be a crucial discovery, as those struggling with OA often develop difficulties in everyday tasks like climbing stairs and getting up from a chair.
Previous reports have indicated the condition is a leading cause of mobility problems among older adults, while the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which took place in the US, found 80 per cent of OA patients had to deal with some form of limitation to their movement.
Summarising the research team's aims, lead author Dr Daniel White said: "Our study examines if more walking equates with better functioning and, if so, how much daily walking is needed to minimise risk of developing problems with mobility in people with knee OA."
As part of the investigation, participants - all of whom were either at risk or had already been diagnosed with knee OA - had their daily number of steps measured. Their walking was observed using a monitor over a seven-day period, before their functional limitation was evaluated two years later.
Dr White and his team concluded that while 10,000 steps per day was a goal commonly set by those looking to become more active, just 6,000 were needed to feel the benefits.
According to official figures, around one million people see their GP every year about OA, with the condition more commonly found in women than men. Those aged over 50 are the most at risk, although younger people can also be affected.