A recent study from NorthwesternUniversity has shownthat adults aged 65 years andolder with arthritis were less likelyto experience physical limitationsif they remained physicallyactive. The 2-year study foundthat two thirds of the 5700 studyparticipants did not get regular,vigorous exercise and had twicethe risk of decline in physicalfunctioning as those who weremore active. Physical limitationsincluded trouble with walkingshort distances, preparing meals,shopping, bathing, and dressing.The researchers assessed thepatients'functioning and foundthat 14% of those who had nolimitations at the beginning of thestudy experienced a decline inphysical function.
Lead author Dorothy Dunlop,PhD, noted that many arthritissufferers have other health conditionsand that exercising, ingeneral, would help improve theiroverall health. She and her colleaguesdetermined that, if all thepeople in the study had exercisedregularly, one third of thecases of physical decline couldhave been prevented. Dr. Dunlopfurther noted that it is a myth thatpeople with arthritis should notexercise. They should, however,consult a physician before takingup any exercise.