Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who spent more time in light intensity physical activities have a reduced risk of onset and progression of disability, according to a study published in British Medical Journal.
Researchers identified 1,680 community dwelling adults from the Osteoarthritis Initiative study who were at an elevated risk for developing disability due to knee osteoarthritis (OA) or other risk factors for knee OA. Participants wore an accelerometer around the hip during waking hours for a week to track the daily amount and intensity of physical activity. Researchers surveyed participants 2 years after collecting accelerometer results for the development of disabilities.
Primary outcome measures included incident disability, while secondary outcome measures included progression of disability defined by a more severe lever at 2 years compared with baseline.
Researchers found that even after accounting for time spent in moderate activities, individuals who spent more time in light intensity activities had fewer disabilities. For example, individuals who participated in more than 4 hours of light physical activity showed more than a 30% reduction in the risk for developing disability vs. individuals who spent 3 hours a day in light activity. Researchers also found lower reports of disabilities were associated with more time spent in moderate or vigorous activity.
“Our findings provide encouragement for adults who may not be candidates to increase physical activity intensity due to health limitations. Even among those who did almost no moderate activity, the more light activity they did, the less likely they were to develop disability,” Dorothy Dunlop, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, stated. “We were delighted to see that more time spent during the day, simply moving your body, even at a light intensity, may reduce disability. Now people with health problems or physical limitations, who cannot increase the intensity of their activity, have a starting place in the effort to stay independent.”
Dunlop DD. BMJ. 2014;doi:10.1136/bmj.g2472.
Disclosure: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.