The study, published in BioMed Central's open-access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, found significantly less arthritis pain in patients who walked two or more sessions of 1500 steps each, three times a week. All were taking glucosamine supplementation as well. Glucosamine supplementation has been shown to have a beneficial effect on arthritis pain, particularly in patients with moderate to severe pain symptoms.
Researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia, conducted the study with 36 osteoarthritis patients aged 42 - 73. For six weeks, each participant took the supplement only, before beginning a 12-week progressive walking program. The walking program, which was called Stepping Out, included a pedometer, a walking guide, log sheets and a planner. Half the participants walked three days per week and the other half walked five days per week.
Both groups saw significant improvements in osteoarthritis symptoms. Interestingly, walking five times per week showed no added benefit to walking three times per week with these patients. Dr Kristiann Heesch, lead author of the study says, "These findings are not surprising given that the three-day and five-day walking groups did not differ significantly in the mean number of days actually walked per week, the mean number of daily steps walked, nor their weekly minutes of physical activity. They provide preliminary evidence that osteoarthritis sufferers can benefit from a combination of glucosamine sulphate and walking 3000 steps per day for exercise, in bouts of at least 1500 steps each, on at least three days per week."
While the amount of walking in the progressive walking program represents less physical activity than that recommended for the general population, it fits with the recommendations for people with arthritis.