A new study shows that walking 6,000 steps daily can significantly reduce the risk of functional limitation among individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA). For the study, 1,788 participants with or at risk for knee OA were monitored with an ankle pedometer for 2 years. The participants were not instructed engage in any formal activity program. Researchers noted at the follow-up that 70% of participants who averaged 6,000 or more steps per day reported no decreased in function while 70% of those who walked less than 6,000 steps experienced limitations.

The authors did cite the 6,000 steps per day as the point with the “best discriminating ability” relative to functional limitations, the study indicates that as few as 3,000 steps daily reduced problems, with every additional 1,000 steps lowering limitation risk by at least 16%. The effects were similar between persons determined to have knee OA at baseline and those found to be at risk for knee OA.

The authors of the study do call for more extensive studies to reinforce the findings, but believe that the results point to a possible set of clinical recommendations. The authors write, “Specifically, walking > 3,000 steps per day may be an initial minimum daily walking goal to recommend. Increasing this amount to walking > 6,000 steps per day may be an ideal amount on an ongoing basis as this threshold best discriminated those who developed functional limitation from those who did not.”

The findings of the study were published in Arthritis Care & Research.

[Source: Arthritis Care & Research]