Just an hour of walking or light exercise per week is enough to dramatically reduce the chances of developing the most severe forms of arthritis in older people whose joints have begun to lose flexibility. This is written by doctors in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine .
“We have shown that older people need to spend only ten minutes a day on physical activity in order to maintain independence and mobility. Anyone can handle this task, and we hope that such a low” threshold of entry “motivates many of them to lead a similar lifestyle. “, Said Dorothy Dunlop of Northwestern University of Chicago, USA.
Rheumatoid arthritis and another form of this disease, cranial arthritis, arise as a result of the fact that the human immune system, for unknown reasons, begins to attack the connective tissues in the joints, as a result of which inflammation develops in them, and they begin to break down. According to current WHO estimates, about 1% of the total population of the Earth, and about 5% of the elderly suffer from various forms of arthritis.
The reason why all these diseases arise, scientists do not yet know – there are approximately equal grounds for believing that they can be a rare consequence of ordinary infections, as well as the product of some disturbances in the work of genes and mutations in them.
For this reason, there is no cure for arthritis yet. Therefore, doctors and patients are forced to deal with its symptoms, taking painkillers or drugs that suppress the immune system and have serious side effects.In addition, doctors are trying to formulate diets and sets of exercises that would help minimize the chances of acquiring arthritis.
Dunlop and her colleagues discovered a relatively simple and painless way to protect themselves from the development of the most severe forms of arthritis, observing the health of about one and a half thousand American pensioners. All of them were at risk and suffered from either mild forms of the disease or other types of joint pain.
Scientists gave all participants in this experiment bracelets-accelerometers, which measured their level of physical activity throughout the day. In parallel, they monitored changes in the condition of their joints and periodically conducted surveys of whether they were experiencing problems in everyday life.
As it turned out, even a relatively small level of physical activity turned out to be extremely beneficial for the health of pensioners – if they spent more than an hour a week on walks or light exercises, the likelihood of developing severe forms of arthritis was reduced by 85%, and the incidence of physical problems fell by 45%.
This is supported by the fact that about a quarter of sedentary retirees acquired arthritis four years after the start of observations. On the other hand, this happened only to some older Americans who spent more than an hour on daily walks or runs.
Such findings, according to Dunlop, suggest that the medical services of the United States and other countries should lower typical recommendations for maintaining physical activity so as not to frighten pensioners with excessively high loads and encourage them to keep fit.