Walk, don’t run, toward healthier knees

Walk, don’t run, toward healthier knees

Consider this episode your walking papers. No, we’re not firing you — but we are giving you a pretty good reason to start walking more than you have before.

In a new study from researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine published in Arthritis and Rheumatology, evidence points to walking as one of the best forms of exercise to reduce new, frequent knee pain in folks with arthritic knees who are age 50 or older.

The research suggests that ever the unsung hero of low-impact exercise, walking may even help slow damage within the knee joint.

The observational study, part of something called the Osteoarthritis Initiative, spanned years and included self-reported data as participants recorded how much time they spent walking, as well as how often. Those who exercised 10 or more times were classified as “walkers,” and had 40% lower odds of having new, frequent knee pain compared with those who reported exercising fewer than 10 times.

Like most forms of exercise, walking comes with the added benefits of improved heart health and a decreased risk of obesity, diabetes and some cancers. It’s free, boasts minimal side effects, and is more readily accessible than medication or pricey gym memberships.

This, in tandem with the study’s findings of reducing the likelihood of newer, intense knee pain, and the possibility of slowing down any worsening wear-and-tear inside the joint from osteoarthritis, crowns walking king of the castle in every age group — but especially in those over 50.

We all know the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady walking wins the race … against knee pain.

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