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Help combat your osteoarthritis: stand more, sit less: the old adage "use it or lose it" is true--"sedentary" is your enemy.

Osteoarthritis (OA) often makes movement difficult, but a new study says that if you suffer from OA, movement is just what you need.

OA affects an estimated 12.1 million U.S. adults, and knees are the most common joint afflicted, affecting more than 9 million people.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health (March 2015), found that for people with knee OA, the more time spent being sedentary, the greater the loss of physical function over a two-year period.


The researchers analyzed 1,659 subjects, aged 49 to 83, who had some form of knee OA. Their daily activity was monitored with accelerometers--an electronic device that measures motion and acceleration. Gait speed and chair-stand testing measured mobility. Gait speed was determined by how fast a person could walk 20 meters (66 feet). The chair-stand test consisted of how often they could rise from a chair to a standing position in one minute.

Researchers found that this group spent almost two-thirds of its waking hours sedentary--about 9.8 hours on average. And this behavior was directly linked to a slower gait. The highest-rated sedentary group traveled almost two feet per minute slower compared to the group with less sedentary time. And, the more slowly they walked, the less able they were to rise from a chair; the high-sedentary group completed about one less sit-to-stand repetition per minute.


These findings were independent of any daily moderate-to-vigorous activity. In other words, even if the knee OA group participated in some activity during the day, it did not offset the negative effects of long periods of sedentary time.

A similar study by the same researchers, published in Arthritis Care & Research (March 2015), produced the same results. This study focused on a group of 1,168 knee OA sufferers, and found that the high-sedentary group traveled 3.88 feet per second--almost one foot per minute slower compared to those who had less sedentary/more active time. And the frequent "sitters" were able to complete only 26 sit-to-stand repetitions per minute, while the more active ones could perform 29 to 31 reps per minute.


The researchers noted that limiting sedentary time, while at the same time increasing activity, is the best combination for maintaining and even improving physical function. So, keep your OA from sabotaging your ability to stay active and mobile--get up and get moving on a regular basis throughout the day.

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Publication:Duke Medicine Health News
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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