Many Arthritis Patients May Not Be Exercising
FRIDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Although being physically
active is one of the best ways people with osteoarthritis can
alleviate pain and improve their ability to get around, a new study
shows that people with the joint disease are much more sedentary
than previously thought.
Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of
Medicine found that more than half of women and 40 percent of men
with knee osteoarthritis are basically "couch potatoes," and not
engaging in the physical activity that is vital to their
Using a small device called an accelerometer, researchers
measured the physical activity of more than 1,000 people aged 49 to
84 with radiographic knee osteoarthritis for one week.
Although federal guidelines recommend that adults with arthritis
participate in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, low-impact
activity each week (about 20 minutes per day), the study revealed
that fewer than one in seven men, and only one in 12 women actually
met those guidelines.
Meanwhile, 40.1 percent of men and 56.5 percent of women did not
sustain 10 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity over the course
of the week, and were therefore deemed "inactive."
These levels of physical activity were significantly lower than
what had been reported in previous studies that relied on
participants' self-reported accounts of exercise and activity.
"We had assumed that people might be overstating physical activity in past self-reported data, but were surprised to find that the physical activity rates were much, much lower than what was previously reported," study author Dorothy Dunlop, an associate professor of medicine at Feinberg, said in a university news release.
Dunlop said the findings, published in the August issue of
Arthritis & Rheumatism, should be a "wake-up call" for doctors.
"Even though they have joint disease, patients need to be reminded that physical activity is actually good for them," Dunlop added. "People with arthritis should be as physically active as possible, even if they accomplish less than the recommended levels. When it comes to physical activity, there is good evidence that the benefits far outweigh the risks and being inactive is especially detrimental to health."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides
more information on
arthritis and physical activity.
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