A new study has said that "progressive walking" and a shellfish supplement every day can significantly lessen arthritis pain and improve physical function.
Writing in BioMed Central's open-access journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, boffins found that exercise and glucosamine sulphate supplementation together help osteoarthritis patients.
Glucosamine is a chemical found in shellfish shells that has long been known to keep joints from deteriorating.
Dr Kristiann Heesch worked with a team of researchers from The University of Queensland, Australia, to carry out the trial in 36 osteoarthritis patients.
All patients received the dietary supplement for six weeks, after which they continued to take the supplement during a 12-week progressive walking program. The program, called Stepping Out, includes a walking guide; a pedometer; weekly log sheets and a weekly planner, all intended to help patients adopt the exercise regime.
Seventeen patients were randomly assigned to walk five days per week, while the remaining 19 were instructed to walk three days a week.
The team found that both groups achieved significant improvement in their symptoms, however being encouraged to walk five days a week was not more effective than being encouraged to walk three days.
"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," Dr Heesch said. "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".