Recently, a new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University assessed the impact of performing rigorous physical activity on the chances of developing knee arthritis in individuals who were at high risk and found that exercise does not contribute to the development of the health condition.
Instead, it was discovered that people who added specific exercises to their routines actually had a lower risk of having knee arthritis and the exercise safeguarded them from the disease.
The associate professor of physical therapy and human movement sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the author of the new paper, Allison Chang, explains further that:
“Our study findings convey a reassuring message that adults at high risk for knee OA may safely engage in long-term strenuous physical activity at a moderate level to improve their general health and well-being,”
Statistically, osteoarthritis is the most commonly diagnosed form of joint-related health issues in the United States. In accordance with the Centre for Disease Control and Infection, there are over thirty million adults living with the condition.
A person who has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis will likely to be screened for knee-related problems as it is the most commonly affected joints in the majority of the cases.
In people with osteoarthritis, the chances of developing symptomatic, radiographic knee OA are around thirty-eight percent to forty-five percent. Most of the patients who get a diagnosis of knee problems are aged fifty-five and over.
The new study, whose findings appear in the journal JAMA Network Open, looked at over one thousand people for a time period of ten years. All of the participants did not have radiographic evidence of knee OA but were at high risk of developing the condition.
After following the participants and their exercise routines for a decade, the researchers found the vigorous exercises were not associated with an elevated risk of developing knee-related osteoarthritis problems.
In fact, people who did engage in exercises such as aerobic dance, swimming, skiing, cycling, playing single tennis and jogging had a thirty percent lower risk of developing knee complications in osteoarthritis.
On the other hand, sitting for long periods of time had no impact on the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Neither did it reduce the risk nor did it elevate it.
Some of the factors which were identified as potential contributors to the health condition included having a history of joint surgery or injury, chronic knee symptoms, a few genetic factors, and being overweight.
Even though there is a lot of medical literature to corroborate the benefits of exercise in the prevention of various health conditions, it is usually associated with tissue damage, the progression of joint disorders, and pain by the majority of the people.
The researchers assessed that fifty percent of the participants who preferred not to engaged in vigorous exercises in the study did so for the same concerns regarding exercise.
“Adults at high risk for knee OA may safely engage in long-term strenuous physical activity at a moderate level,” Chang explained.
In addition, the researchers also emphasized the need for adding exercise in the routine of people who are seen to be at a high risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Adding physical activity in the standard care for people at high risk of OA at an early stage can help them maintain physical activity in the future as well.
This can potentially help in cutting down the risk of the health condition by keeping known factors that contribute to its development including obesity and excessive body weight away.