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Adults who suffer from arthritis should engage in exercise or physiotherapy as part of a daily routine to stay independent, researchers say. A Northwestern University study has found that completing 45 minutes of moderate exercise or physiotherapy sessions per week can prevent premature death and serious illness.

Researchers based at Northwestern University in the US found that taking part in moderate intensity exercise could be enough to keep symptoms manageable for a two-year period when compared with adults who did not participate in any physical activity. Those participants of the study who completed the 45 minutes of exercise per week, such as brisk walking, were 80 per cent more likely to improve or sustain high future function over two years compared with those doing less. The study determined that these results were shared across both men and women of the same age and severity of symptoms.

‘Even a little activity is better than none,’ said first author Dorothy Dunlop, professor of rheumatology and preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. ‘For those people suffering from arthritis who are minimally active, a 45-minute minimum might feel more realistic.’

US Federal guidelines dictate that a minimum of 150 minutes was required to ensure that people with the condition can remain independent and mobile. However, only 10% of adults with arthritis in their knees meet the federal guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

‘The federal guidelines are very important because the more you do, the better you’ll feel and the greater the health benefits you’ll receive,’ Dunlop said. ‘But even achieving this less rigorous goal will promote the ability to function and may be a feasible starting point for older adults dealing with discomfort in their joints.’

‘We’re looking for an older population who can be functionally independent,’ Dunlop said, ‘and we were interested in seeing what kind of physical activity might be beneficial to promote good function down the road. We found moderate-intensity activity rather than light activity, such as pushing a grocery cart, to be more valuable to promote future function.

‘We found the most effective type of activity to maintain or improve your function two years later was moderate activity, and it did not need to be done in sessions lasting 10 minutes or more, as recommended by federal guidelines,’

If you or a loved one struggles with Arthritis, know that activity supervised by a physiotherapist may be of great benefit. Get in touch with The Physio Co and see what our experts can do for you. Call 1300 797 793 or email us today.