We all know that walking is good for us. Until recently, we didn’t know how good or how much. Now, thanks to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, we know that 6,000 steps a day is the magic number.
The Magic 6,000
Based on their studies, the research team reported that walking 6,000 steps or more each day could protect adults vulnerable to knee osteoarthritis from developing mobility issues. These issues include essential activities of daily living, such as rising from a chair and climbing up a staircase.
Although walking is a common activity for older adults, the research team reported that two-thirds of senior citizens with osteoarthritis walk less than 90 minutes per week.
“Our study examines if more walking equates with better functioning, and if so, how much daily walking is needed to minimize risk of developing problems with mobility in people with knee OA,” notes co-author Daniel White, PT, ScD, of Sargent College at Boston University in Massachusetts.
The Study Participants
To come up with their magic number, the research team measured daily steps taken by 1,788 people with knee osteoarthritis or at risk for it. The average age of study participants was 67. Their average body mass index was 31 kg/m2. Sixty percent of the study participants were female.
The researcher used a monitor to measure the number of steos taken over a seven day period. As a follow-up, they evaluated functional limitation two years later. Slow walking speed and numerous other factors helped them assess the study results.
The results of the study indicate that walking an additional 1,000 steps each day can create a 18 percent reduction in functional limitations. Participants who walked fewer than 6,000 steps a day showed increased signs of functional limitation.
“Walking is an inexpensive activity and despite the common popular goal of walking 10,000 steps per day, our study finds only 6,000 steps are necessary to realize benefits,” White said in a news release. “We encourage those with or at risk of knee OA to walk at least 3,000 or more steps each day and ultimately progress to 6,000 steps daily to minimize the risk of developing difficulty with mobility.”
Your Physiotherapist Can Help
Postural alignment and muscle imbalances can contribute to walking difficulties. Your Perth physiotherapist can help you correct these issues, and develop a safe walking program. Call Happy Physio on 9272 7359 now and we will help you anyway we can!