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At age 56 and with two knee surgeries in my past, I find it harder and harder to get moving in the morning—at least until I’ve walked around a bit. And a recent study suggests that walking, perhaps motivated by wearing an activity tracker, may also help people like me ward off future pain and disability from osteoarthritis of the knee.
Researchers looked at nearly 1,800 people who wore an activity tracker for a week. Those who walked just 3,000 steps a day, about a mile and a half, reported less pain and more mobility compared with people who took fewer steps. Study participants who got up to 6,000 steps a day experienced even greater benefits. The study was published in Arthritis Care & Research.
Of course, if you already have knee pain, walking it off may seem counterintuitive. So the news that even a little bit helps is reassuring. And if you’re just starting, take it slow: There’s no need to go from 0 to 6,000 immediately. But do get moving. Lace up those walking shoes, put on an activity tracker if you like, and remember these words, from the medical expert of all medical experts, Hippocrates: “Walking is man’s [and woman’s, of course] best friend.”
Read more about how to deal with arthritis pain and our reviews of pedometers and activity trackers. And if you are a candidate for a whole new knee, see our Ratings of hospitals for hip and knee replacement surgery.