PITTSBURGH — One in two participants with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis (OA) demonstrated improvements in walking performance after completing a 12-week, community-based Spinning® group cycling program, according to a recent study accepted for presentation at the World Conference for Physical Therapy. Spinning program participants demonstrated significant improvements in preferred gait velocity and reduced gait asymmetry at maximum velocity compared to members of a non-cycling control group.

“We know that the gait abnormalities symptomatic of knee OA can impact mobility and quality of life,” says Dr. Kelly Krohn, the study's primary investigator. “Yet research examining the Spinning program's potential to ameliorate these issues had not been previously conducted.”

Forty-one volunteers between the ages of 37 and 74 with confirmed knee OA were recruited and randomly assigned to a Spinning program or control groups.

At least twice a week for 12 weeks, the Spinning program subjects participated in supervised classes designed to maximize aerobic fitness while limiting direct knee joint stress. Classes progressed from 40 to 60 minutes and included warm-ups, fast-cadence pedaling, simulated hill-climbs, cool downs and stretching. Control subjects continued their current fitness activities but did not participate in Spinning classes.

The Spinning participants demonstrated greater mean gait velocity and step length differential at maximum velocity, greater mean increase in preferred velocity/cadence and a reduction in step length asymmetry at maximum velocity.

Support for the study came from the Pittsburgh National Corporation Arthritis Research Fund, Mad Dog Athletic Corporation and the Jewish Community Center, Pittsburgh.