CHICAGO, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Exercise can help those with knee osteoarthritis walk fast enough to cross the street before the signal changes, U.S. researchers suggest.
Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago said 81 percent of those in the group with highest physical activity walked fast enough to clear a busy intersection while the "walk" sign still flashed -- a speed of about 4 feet per second -- versus 49 percent in the group with lowest physical activity.
The study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, indicated as a group's physical activity increased so did the percentage who could cross safely. Group two had 63 percent and group three, 71 percent.
"This strong evidence that even a small increase in activity is related to better walking function," lead author Dorothy Dunlop said in a statement. "This should motivate people to get moving, even if they have pain or stiffness."
Dunlop recommended even if people cannot meet federal guidelines -- for adults with arthritis that means moderate, low-impact activity at least 2.5 hours a week in sessions lasting 10 minutes or more -- they should try to become as physically active as possible.
The researchers used data from an observational multi-site study of 2,500 people with knee osteoarthritis.