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Running hard on knees, ups osteoarthritis

CHICAGO, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Those at risk for knee osteoarthritis benefit from walking and other light exercise rather than heavier exercise such as running, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Thomas Link of the University of California, San Francisco, says magnetic resonance imaging exams indicated light exercisers had the healthiest knee cartilage among all exercise levels. Patients with minimal strength training had healthier cartilage than patients with either no strength training or frequent strength training.

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"According to the results of our study, participating in a high-impact activity, such as running, more than 1 hour per day at least three times a week appears associated with more degenerated cartilage and potentially a higher risk for development of osteoarthritis," Link, the study's senior author, says in a statement.

Link and colleagues matched 33 controls for 132 asymptomatic study participants at risk for knee osteoarthritis. The 99 women and 66 men -- ages 45-55 -- were divided into three exercise/strength-training levels -- sedentary, light and moderate-plus.

The study findings were presented in Chicago at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

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