Despite the fact you might be finding it a bit more painful to walk around the older you get, a new study is suggesting keep those legs working as it may your best defense against knee arthritis.

It is oftentimes due to knee arthritis that older adults find everyday tasks such as walking or climbing steps a chore. However, researchers in the study are finding the more you walk, the better your knees will feel.

Boston University's department of physical therapy and athletic training recently released the study's findings and are suggesting that the equivalent of an hour a day walking can dramatically improve knee arthritis and even prevent disability.

"People with or at-risk for knee arthritis should be walking around 6,000 steps per day, and the more walking one does the less risk of developing functioning difficulties," said Daniel White, the study's lead author and a research assistant professor at BU. "People usually average 100 steps per minute while they walk, so (6,000 steps) is roughly walking an hour a day. It doesn't seem to make a difference where the steps come from."

The U.S. National Institutes of Health claims that approximately 27 million people in the U.S. ages 25 and older have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the wear-and-tear associated with arthritis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recently conducted a study that focused on arthritis and reported some interesting, and alarming, statistics:

  • Nearly 1 in 2 people may develop symptomatic knee arthritis by age 85 years.
  • Two in three people who are obese may develop symptomatic knee arthritis in their lifetime.
  • An estimated 52.5 million adults in the United States reported being told by a doctor that they have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.
  • By 2030, an estimated 67 million Americans ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

The researchers on the Boston University study also pointed out that today's wearable tech market is offering some solutions to help sufferers keep track of their daily step counts. There are now numerous pedometers and smartphone apps that measure steps and walking distance that are widely available both online and at leading consumer tech retailers. 

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