Various studies suggest that people with OA, who walk for at least one hour per week at a brisk pace, can benefit significantly.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of joint sickness, affecting nearly 300 million people globally. OA is known to occur most frequently in the hip, knees, and hands, and less often in the feet and spine. The risk of OA increases with age and it is common among elderly people. Above 50, women are more likely to develop OA.
Depending on the severity of the OA and preexisting illnesses, doctors prescribe pain relievers (e.g., acetaminophen); NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen), which can reduce swelling, soreness and redness, apart from pain; as well as steroids (e.g., cortisone). Remedies for OA come in the form of pills, injections, creams, and ointments.
Apart from medication, physical activity is highly recommended to improve the function of the affected joint and reduce discomfort. These include various stretch exercises, muscle-strengthening, and aerobic activities like walking, jogging, and biking. Brisk walking is an activity that is natural for most people. Besides, it doesn’t require any elaborate equipment except for a good pair of walking shoes, which makes this activity quite attainable for almost everyone. An ideal walking shoe is one that is light and fits a little loosely. It should also help the wearer get a firm grip on the ground, to avoid losing balance or falling.
We recommend that you consult your doctor or physician, for advice on the best walking and physical activity routine, for effective OA management.
Based on calories burnt, slow walking is considered a “light” physical activity while brisk walking is “moderate-to-vigorous.” Jogging, on the other hand, is an example of “vigorous” activity. A person uses energy (calories) even while sitting or sleeping. If she/ he burns 1 kcal/kg body weight per hour during rest, then in slow walking her/ his calorie burn rate will be less than 3 kcal/kg body weight per hour. A brisk walker will burn 3-6 kcal/kg body weight per hour. The corresponding figure for a jogger will be at least 6 kcal/kg body weight per hour. Since brisk walking is less demanding than jogging, it is especially recommended for elderly people. Moreover, OA knee exercises is known to show positive results.
According to a recent study led by Dorothy D. Dunlop, PhD, professor of rheumatology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, with as little as one (1) hour of moderate-to-vigorous OA exercises in a week, such as brisk walking, OA patients were able to benefit significantly. The study used accelerometers (sensors), worn by participants, to collect and analyze data on their physical activity over a 4-year period between September 2008 and December 2014. Participants who maintained this minimum level of physical activity were able to perform several routine activities without hassles. Such activities of daily living included walking across a room, dressing, bathing, using the toilet and even moving from bed to wheelchair and back.
The research covered more than 1,500 participants aged 49 and above with OA of the joints, that carry the weight of the body such as hip, knee, ankle, and foot. As compared to participants who didn’t meet the minimum weekly threshold of activity – namely, one hour of brisk walking – people with OA who did, saw their mobility-related disability drop by as much as 85 percent and daily living disability, by around 45 percent. The results of the study are very encouraging and are sure to motivate more people with OA toward a more active lifestyle.
Ensure to consult your doctor/ physician, to know the amount and regularity of physical activity, that’s safe and best for your OA condition.
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