Walking For One Hour Weekly Found To Prevent Disability

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New study by Northwestern Medicine study reported that one hour a week of brisk walking staves off disability in older adults with arthritis pain or aching or stiffness in a knee, hip, ankle or foot

New study reported that an hour of weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity allowed older adults to maintain their ability to perform daily tasks such as getting dressed or cross a street before a traffic light walk signal changed. An estimated two in five people with osteoarthritis—most of whom have it in their lower joints—develop disability limitations. The study was published on April 1, 2019, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Study investigators analyzed four years of data from more than 1,500 adults in the national Osteoarthritis Initiative from Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The study reported that weekly hour of exercise reduced risk of mobility disability by 85% and risk of activities of daily living disability by almost 45%.

Furthermore, four years after the start of the study, 24% of adults who did not get the weekly hour of brisk physical activity were walking too slowly to safely cross the street, and 23% reported problems performing their morning routine. The adults all had pain, aching or stiffness in lower extremity joints from osteoarthritis but were free of disability when they began the study. Their physical activity was monitored using accelerometers.

Federal guidelines recommend older adults with arthritis should participate in low-impact activity. For substantial health benefits including reducing the risk for heart disease and many other chronic diseases, these guidelines recommend older adults participate in at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate-intensity activity.

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Paula Delio is a seasoned journalist with over 10 years experience. While studying journalism at Fordham University, Paula wrote her thesis on media influence on local politics. As a contributor to Oak Tribune, Paula mostly covers politics.