Posted on Jan 17, 2011, 6 a.m.
Long-term commitment to physical activity helps to improve function and walking speed among adults with osteoarthritis of the knee.
In that maintaining function promotes independent living and thus is an essential anti-aging goal for adults with osteoarthritis, a large-scale study finds that people affected by osteoarthritis of the knee should increase physical activity and be as active as possible. In fact, increasing physical activity over two years can improve function and even walking speed among adults with knee osteoarthritis. Dorothy D. Dunlop, from Northwestern University (Illinois, USA), and colleagues studied over 2,500 patients with knee osteoarthritis, and found that the average gait speed (considered to be an objective measure of functional performance) was 4 feet/second among subjects with the lowest quartile of physical activity, compared with 4.2, 4.3, and 4.5 feet/second among quartiles with increasing activity levels. The team observed that this graded relationship between physical activity and walking speed was similar across sex and age groups, and persisted after one year. The researchers concluded that their findings support current federal guidelines that encourage physical activity goals for arthritis patients, and hope to encourage a long-term commitment to physical activity among knee osteoarthritis patients.
Dunlop D, et al. "Physical activity levels and functional performance in the Osteoarthritis Initiative: a graded relationship." Arthritis Rheum, 2011; 63: 127-136.