This article is excerpted from Market Watch on April 3, 2019, orginially written by Nicole Lyn Pesce.

It may sound counterintuitive, but people suffering from arthritis pain in their legs and feet may want to try walking it out.

In fact, just one hour of moderate to brisk walking a week — or less than 10 minutes a day — was shown to help stop disability in older adults by helping them keep up their ability to perform daily tasks, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Researchers studied more than 1,500 older adults (ages 49 to 83) participating in the Osteoarthritis Initiative, who were at risk of disability from the degenerative joint disease that worsens over time. Arthritis affects more than 54 million adults.

The Northwestern Medicine study subjects, who were considered disability-free at the beginning of the study (which meant they could walk at least one meter per second — fast enough to cross the street before the traffic light changes — and they didn’t have any trouble getting dressed, bathing or walking across a room) wore accelerometers so that researchers could measure their activity.

And after four years, those who did at least 56 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week had an 86% decreased risk of being mobility disabled, and a 45% decreased risk of a daily living disability, compared to those who got less exercise. That breaks out to just eight minutes a day.

In comparison, by the end of the study, the 24% of those who did not move this much were unable to walk fast enough to cross the street before the traffic lights changed, and 23% reported difficulty completing morning tasks like getting dressed.

It should be noted that the current government health guidelines recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise for people with arthritis. But study author Dorothy Dunlop, the professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said her research suggests an hour of brisk walking a week (such as picking up the pace when you’re late to an appointment or trying to catch a bus or train) could also have health benefits over time.

Walking is an easy way to step up your daily activity without investing a ton of time and money. And it pays off beyond staving off debilitating arthritis. A joint U.S. and Japanese study published last fall found that 10 minutes of mild exercise, on par with walking or tai chi, stimulated brain activity and strengthened memory. And a study published last fall in the journal Neurology also found that sedentary adults over 55 who started walking for 35 minutes a day began reversing their cognitive decline in just six months.

What’s more, a study published the American Heart Association journal Hypertension in February found that taking a 30-minute morning walk combined getting up to take short walking breaks throughout the day lowered blood pressure about as well as medication does.

To read the full article from Market Watch click here: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/do-this-for-less-than-10-minutes-a-day-to-prevent-disability-as-you-age-2019-04-01


Walking is a large part of the Bonati Spine Institute recovery process and something Dr. Bonati and all our surgeons recommend for those looking for relief from spine-related conditions. If you’ve tried walking or other conservative treatment methods but you’re still suffering from back or neck pain, the Bonati Spine Institute is here to help. Allow our physicians and staff to review your case and verify if the Bonati Spine Procedures can help you. Click here to discuss your condition with one of our patient advocates or call us at 855-267-0482.