If arthritis in your knees is slowing you down, walking more, rather than less, may help keep you on the go. For those that are multitasking, part of the solution may be a pedometer (or cell phone app) that counts your daily steps. When they add up to 6,000, arthritis in the knee begins to improve, and the risk of disability declines, according to a new study from Boston University. Every step you take throughout the day counts toward your 6,000, the study found. Author Daniel White, a research assistant professor in the department of physical therapy and athletic training, says that when most people walk, they average 100 steps per minute, which means that if you were to do your 6,000 steps all at once, you would spend an hour walking. The research included 1,800 adults who had knee arthritis or were at risk of the problem and were already participating in an ongoing osteoarthritis study. White explained that the investigation was aimed at determining the fewest daily steps that would help people with knee arthritis remain mobile. If you're not in good shape, he suggests setting an initial goal of 3,000.
My take? In combination with daily exercise (walking counts), losing at least 10 percent of your weight, if you're overweight, can help go a long way toward relieving the pain of knee arthritis and improving mobility. In addition to weight loss and exercise, I recommend making some specific dietary changes to help reduce the inflammation and pain of osteoarthritis. Research has shown that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and the spices ginger and turmeric may be especially beneficial. And foods rich in antioxidants - plentifully found in most vegetables and fruit - may help reduce tissue damage from inflammation.
Daniel K. White et al, “Daily walking and the risk of incident functional limitation in knee OA: An observational study,” Arthritis Care & Research, doi: 10.1002/acr.22362.