Walking linked to eased osteoarthritis

February 16, 2010

"Progressive walking" combined with glucosamine sulphate supplementation has been shown to improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open-access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy found that patients who walked at least two bouts of 1500 steps each on three days of the week reported significantly less arthritis pain, and significantly improved physical function.

Dr Kristiann Heesch worked with a team of researchers from The University of Queensland, Australia, to carry out the trial in 36 osteoarthritis patients (aged 42󈞵 years). All patients received the dietary supplement for six weeks, after which they continued to take the supplement during a 12-week progressive program. The program, called Stepping Out, includes a walking guide; a pedometer; weekly log sheets and a weekly planner, all intended to help patients adopt the exercise regime.

Seventeen patients were randomly assigned to walk five days per week, while the remaining 19 were instructed to walk three days a week.

The team found that both groups achieved significant improvement in their symptoms, however being encouraged to walk five days a week was not more effective than being encouraged to walk three days. "These findings are not surprising given that the three-day and five-day walking groups did not differ significantly in the mean number of days actually walked per week, the mean number of daily steps walked, nor their weekly minutes of physical activity," Dr Heesch said. "They provide preliminary evidence that sufferers can benefit from a combination of glucosamine sulphate and walking 3000 steps per day for exercise, in bouts of at least 1500 steps each, on at least three days per week".

This amount of walking is less than current physical activity recommendations for the general population, but follows the recommendations for people with .

More information: Efficacy of a progressive walking program and glucosamine sulphate supplementation on osteoarthritic symptoms of the hip and knee: a feasibility trial, Norman TM Ng, Kristiann C Heesch and Wendy J Brown , Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12:R25, doi:10.1186/ar2932

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