Scientists say there is a simple way to help keep osteoarthritis at bay: Take at least 6,000 steps per day.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, the Los Angeles Times reports, hitting more than 14 percent of adults over the age of 25 and more than a third of those over 65. It can strike all over the body, but mostly affects the knees. There is no cure.
In a new study, scientists spent two years tracking close to 2,000 pedometer-wearing adults between the ages of 50 and 79. Once the researchers looked at the data collected from the pedometers, they discovered that 70 percent of participants who ended up with knee problems walked less than 6,000 steps every day, while 70 percent of those who stayed healthy walked more than 6,000 steps. A majority of the adults with arthritis walk just 90 minutes a week, or fewer than 1,500 steps per day, but the study shows that doubling that and walking only 3,000 steps helped protect participants.
"This is not rocket science," says Daniel White, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Boston University and a leader of the study. "The concept's not surprising. This exercise is not like going to the gym and putting on your sweats and sweating away. These are very attainable goals that can be met in the context of daily life by just walking a little bit more."