Results of the Walk10Blocks study will be available soon.

Stay tuned!

About This Study

 

The Walk10Blocks app was designed to help people meet the basic daily exercise requirement. Research has shown that walking 10 blocks a day, about 1 km or 0.6 miles, may help delay or minimize risk of dementia and help improve cardiovascular and joint health over time. It was the first app designed specifically to help adults get off the couch, start walking and contribute to ground breaking research at the same time.

Walk10Blocks helped participants set reasonable walking goals and move from the couch to 10 blocks through motivating, friendly alerts. Based on data from their iPhone, the Walk10Blocks app tracked participants’ walking activity with easy-to-read measurements and recorded their important feedback to questionnaires.

By using the Walk10Blocks app, participants played an important role as partners in the research team from Arthritis Research Canada, Arthritis Consumer Experts, Alzheimer Society of B.C and Canadian Association of Retired Persons. The team is studying the benefits of walking for adults who are inactive, older and at risk for or struggling with arthritis or dementia.

 

Walk10Blocks Key Features

Dashboard

Dashboard

Viewer friendly dashboard that shows your walked blocks throughout each day.

Walking Goals

Walking Goals

Customizable daily walking goals

Notifications

Notifications

Stand up and take a walk reminders

Walking Log

Walking Log

A record of all your walks and how you rated them.

Badges

Badges

Fun rewards for meeting and beating your goals

Walk10Blocks Study Background Information

*Please note the Walk10Blocks study has ended. The information below is a historical record of the Walk10Blocks study.

For Canadians over 65, some of the leading causes of mobility limitation are chronic joint and muscle diseases and cognitive impairment most commonly caused by dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease or Vascular Dementia.

Approximately 5 million Canadians are currently affected by some form of arthritis, a number that is estimated to grow to 7.5 million by 2036.

The World Health Organization reports that one new case of dementia is detected every 4 seconds.

Research suggests that walking a minimum of 1 kilometer, or about 10 city blocks per day, could reduce the risk of dementia, and potentially improve cardiovascular and bone health in the long term.

How The Study Worked

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*Please note the Walk10Blocks app study has ended. The information below is a historical record of the Walk10Blocks study. The Walk10Blocks team will be sharing the results of the study. Stay tuned!

We all know that walking is good for us, but understanding what motivates or supports people aged 30 to 50 years who are sedentary to include daily exercise into their lifestyles is vitally important as our population ages.

Using Apple’s ResearchKit platform, the Walk10Blocks study aimed to find out if there are differences in how participants used the app. Did they open or use the app regularly? Did they self-select reminder notifications to stand up and take breaks or go for a walk? Did they rate their walking experiences? Did they take the surveys, whether they are prompted or not?

It sounds simple, but the Walk10Blocks study was a complex research project that had the potential to provide answers on how to help people who are sedentary change their behavior, behavior that either has led to poorer health or puts them at risk of developing a health condition.

Ultimately, the findings of the Walk10Blocks study will guide the full development of the app and help future users move more and sit less.

The Walk10Blocks Team

Linda Li

Linda Li

BSc, PT, MSc, PhD

Primary Medical Consultant and Scientific Lead, Walk10Blocks and Professor at the University of British Columbia and Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Canada

Teresa Liu-Ambrose

Teresa Liu-Ambrose

PhD, PT

Principal investigator of ICON, Canada Research Chair, Research Director, Falls Prevention Clinic, and Co-Site Lead for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, UBC Site

Jasmina Geldman

Jasmina Geldman

MSc

Research Coordinator, Walk10Blocks and Arthritis Research Canada

Lynne Feehan

Lynne Feehan

BScPT, MSc, PhD

Scientific advisor and Knowledge User Team Member, Walk10Blocks, and Clinical Research, Rehabilitation Program, Fraser Health, Surrey, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia

Alison Hoens

Alison Hoens

BScPT, MSc

Scientific advisor and Knowledge User Team Member, Walk10Blocks and Physical Therapy Knowledge Broker at UBC Department of Physical Therapy

Cheryl Koehn

Cheryl Koehn

President of Arthritis Consumer Experts

Knowledge User Team Lead, Walk10Blocks, Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts, ICON partner organization representative

Eva Boberski

Eva Boberski

BSN, MPH

Knowledge User Team Member, Walk10Blocks, Manager and Research Coordinator at Alzheimer Society of B.C., ICON partner organization representative

Ana Hall

Ana Hall

BSc, MPH

Knowledge User Team Member, Walk10Blocks and National Volunteers and Events Manager at Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP)

Andrés Fajardo

Andrés Fajardo

CompSci, MDM

Technical Lead and Product and Project Manager, Walk10Blocks and independent consultant on development of digital products

Anita Chan

Anita Chan

BA

Project Administration Lead, Walk10Blocks and JointHealth Program Coordinator

Patricia Nunez

Patricia Nunez

BFA, MDM

Graphic and UI Designer, Walk10Blocks

The Walk10Blocks app on the Research Kit platform can help conduct important research that may provide answers on how we and help delay dementia and improve cardiovascular and joint health over time.

– Dr. Linda Li, PT,
PhD of Physical Therapy

University of British Columbia
Principle Investigator of Icon

We believe that giving individuals the tools to motivate them to move and track their health is incredibly powerful.

– Cheryl Koehn, President
Arthritis Consumer Experts
Icon Knowledge User Team Lead

News

The power of walking

Walking is beneficial in different aspects of your life.

According to researchers at Standford University, walking boosts creative inspiration. They compared the creativity levels of participants that were walking and those that were sitting. Researchers found that a person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 per cent when walking.

The research study comprised of four experiments and 176 participants. Participants were placed into different scenarios:

  1. Walking indoors on a treadmill or sitting indoors (both facing a blank wall)
  2. Walking outdoors or sitting outdoors while being pushed in a wheelchair – both along a pre-determined path on the Stanford campus.

Participants participated in different combinations, such as two consecutive seated sessions, or a walking session followed by a seated session. These sessions were also compared in the study. Researchers conclude that participants performed better on creative divergent thinking tests during and immediately after going for a walk. Divergent thinking is a “thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.”

The infographic below outlines how walking can also benefit your brain, heart, and bones, as well as your memory, mood, health, longevity, and weight.

High-intensity interval walk training associated with decreased disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis

A recent study has shown exciting new benefits associated with exercise for people living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

image of someone on a treadmill

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease with hallmark symptoms of inflammation and resulting pain. It is a disease process (like cancer or diabetes) where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy joints. It is a relatively common disease – approximately 300,000 or 1 in 100 Canadians get it – and is often devastating to a person’s body if not treated properly.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina found that 10 weeks of high-intensity interval walk training was associated with decreased disease activity and improved immune function for adults with RA. High-intensity interval walk training refers to a popular form of exercise that includes short bursts of fast-paced walking at maximum effort followed by less intense recovery periods.

The study included twelve physically inactive adults over the age of 55, with a confirmed diagnosis of RA. Participants completed a 10-week program consisting of 3x 30-minute sessions a week of supervised treadmill walking. This Included a 5-minute warm up and 5-minute cool down. Within the training session, participants walked at 80-90% of their maximum effort in intervals of 60 to 90 seconds. These high-intensity intervals were followed by recovery intervals at 50-60% maximum effort. Speed and interval times varied for each person based on a cardiorespitory fitness test, but none exceeded walking pace. 

Disease activity was assessed by a rheumatologist through a count of swollen and tender joints, perceived general health and blood tests to measure inflammation. Cardiovascular fitness and immune functions were assessed using a variety of clinical and laboratory tests, as well as standardized questionnaires. At the end of the 10 weeks, the following outcomes were observed:

  • RA disease activity reduced by 38%, with a significant decrease in swollen joints, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and improved self-perceived health. An ESR blood test measures the rate at which red blood cells settle in the period of one hour, revealing inflammatory activity in the body. 
  • Improved immune functions suggesting a reduced infection risk and inflammatory potential 
  • Cardiorespitory fitness increased by 9%
  • Resting blood pressure and heart rate both reduced 

 There is a substantial amount of research on exercise and rheumatoid arthritis, but few studies have reported the actual lowering of disease activity scores. As stated by the researchers, this study suggests that,

“High intensity interval walking could be an efficient, tolerable, and highly effective intervention to augment disease activity and improve overall health in patients with RA.”

There are certain limitations to the study such as the small sample size and no control group, but the findings will hopefully encourage more research in the area. In addition, these findings add to a growing body of research on the benefits of exercise for people with arthritis. To learn more about the study, click here.


To learn more about physical activity and arthritis visit the following pages:

A short 10-minute walk can benefit the brain

A recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences determined that even ten minutes of mild exercise can benefit the brain. In the study, scientists from the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Tsukuba in Japan looked at a group of healthy young college students.

The study had 36 participants. They visited the research lab two separate times. On the first visit, each participant sat on a stationary bicycle for 10 minutes. On the second visit, they pedalled the bicycle at a gentle pace that barely increased their heart rates.

New York Times summarized: “In technical terms, the exercise was performed at about 30 percent of each volunteer’s heart rate reserve, or the difference between a person’s maximum heart rate and their resting heart rate. By comparison, brisk walking should raise someone’s heart rate reserve to about 50 percent.”

Participants completed a computerized memory test immediately after each session of sitting or slow pedalling. In the test, the participants would see a brief picture of an object (such as a tree), followed by a variety of other images and then a new image of either the same object or a similar object. Participants had to press buttons to indicate whether they thought each image was new or the same as an earlier image. Images closely resembled one another. The same process was repeated, with testing being completed inside an M.R.I machine that scanned the participant’s brains while they responded to the images.

Results showed that even though the exercise was undemanding, it had an effect on brain function. Participants were better at remembering images after they had ridden the bicycle, especially when the images closely resembled one another. Researchers also found that exercise altered how certain parts of the brain communicate and coordinate with one another. Exercise also improved memory function. The findings suggest that exercise does not need to be long and rigorous to benefit the brain. The effects can take place far more quickly than many of us might expect.

In an interview with New York Times, Michael Yassa, the director of the U.C. Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and senior co-author of the new study with Hideaki Soya of the University of Tsukuba, concluded: “It was exciting to see those effects occurring so quickly and after such light exercise. The findings show that exercise can change people’s brains and minds right away without requiring weeks of working out. Even better, the exertion required can be so slight as to allow almost anyone, even those who are out of shape or possibly disabled, to complete the exercise.”

More research needs to be completed to determine how, at a molecular level, gentle exercise affects brain function. Click here to learn more about the study.

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Independent Contact:

If you are not satisfied with how this study is being conducted, if you have questions about your rights as a research participant or if you have questions, concerns, input, or complaints about the research, please contact Arthritis Research Canada to speak to a Knowledge User:

Arthritis Research Canada

5591 No. 3 Road, Richmond, BC  V6X2C7

T: 604-207-4020 I F: 604-207-4059
E-mail: lli@arthritisresearch.ca

The Walk10Blocks app was developed in a partnership between Improving Cognitive and Joint Health Network, The University of British Columbia, Arthritis Consumer ExpertsArthritis Research CanadaAlzheimers Society of BC, and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.

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