The easy way to prevent the debilitating effects of arthritis

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A new study shows the huge benefits of just one hour a week of brisk physical activity.

People who suffer from arthritis should make sure they get just ten minutes of brisk exercise a day if they want to stave off disability. This is the advice of researchers from the Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago who conducted a study into more than 1,500 people who experienced pain, aching, or stiffness in their lower joints from osteoarthritis but were free of disability.

Lead study author Dorothy Dunlop said that just one hour a week of brisk physical activity “is less than 10 minutes a day for people to maintain their independence. It’s very doable”.

The study followed participants with an activity watch to record their various levels of exercise and found that just ten minutes brisk activity a day reduced the risk of walking too slowly to safely cross a street by 85%, and their risk of not being able to do daily living activities, for example, morning routine tasks such as walking across a room, bathing and dressing, by nearly 45%.

By the end of the four-year study, 24% of participants who did not get a weekly hour of brisk physical activity were walking too slowly to safely cross the street, and 23% had difficulty performing their morning routines, according to the study.

“We hope this new public health finding will motivate an intermediate physical activity goal,” she said. “One hour a week is a stepping stone for people who are currently inactive. People can start to work toward that.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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