Patients with arthritis usually are hesitant to begin exercising for fear that it will worsen their condition. New research shows, however, that increasing activity, even just a little, can actually improve joint function. The findings were published in the December 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Researchers at Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill, studied more than 3500 people in their 50s and 60s with arthritis to see whether exercise could possibly stave off disability from the disease. Those who reported exercising at least 20 minutes per day, at least 3 days per week, were least likely to become more disabled by arthritis than those who were less active. The latter group was more likely to develop more disease- related disabilities, including difficulty walking, climbing stairs, and bathing.