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

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.

Yoga and Arthritis

Person doing a yoga poseThe most recent EULAR recommendations for pain management in inflammatory arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) include physical activity and exercise as a part of a patient’s treatment plan. Physical activity has been shown to significantly ease joint pain and increase mobility, for this reason, exercise is increasingly being prescribed by physicians and other healthcare providers.

Some examples of well-known and effective exercises for people with arthritis include walking, biking and swimming. These are low-impact aerobic exercises, meaning they will generally be easier on the joints and cause your heart rate to increase. Are there other activities that could also benefit people living with arthritis, such as yoga?

Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices which originated in ancient India. Yoga increases flexibility, balance and muscle strength, improves fitness, and relieves pain. A recent study conducted by a team of researchers in China found that if practiced regularly, yoga can effectively alleviate pain and improve joint function for people with knee arthritis. According to the researchers, whole body benefits involve “reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, and metabolic regulation.” A healthy metabolic regulation affects how your body absorbs the nutrients it is getting.

The specific research method used in this study was a meta-analysis. Researchers looked at previous studies where yoga was used as an intervention to treat knee arthritis, and then analyzed the results of all of these studies to determine the efficacy of the activity. In total, 13 clinical trials with 1,557 patients with either knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis were analyzed, with a specific focus on how yoga impacts pain reduction, joint function, and general wellbeing. This research method provides a more wholistic picture on the impacts of yoga on arthritis outcomes than a single study would.

Researchers concluded that if yoga is practised regularly, it is helpful in reducing symptoms, promoting physical function, and general wellbeing for patients with knee arthritisThey added: “This review indicates that yoga intervention could be used for relieving OA pain; however, in the absence of high-quality studies with low risk of bias, the true benefits of yoga, although promising, are still undetermined.”

Researchers believe that there are two reasons why yoga can help reduce pain in patients with knee arthritis:

  • Yoga increases joint stability by strengthening muscles and therefore, reduces physical pain. Strengthening the knee muscles to support your body weight is a primary goal in an arthritis treatment plan.
  • Yoga promotes proper body positioning and helps reduce stress. The stress reducing component is effective in pain management for patients with knee arthritis.

In addition, people who practiced yoga also experienced an increased awareness of their mental health. They were found to be more accepting of their condition and more detached from the psychological experience of pain.

While more research is still needed, yoga is a fun form of physical activity that can be practiced anywhere, either alone or with others, making improving arthritis outcomes even more convenient. To learn more about exercise and arthritis, listen to this JointHealth™podcast featuring physiotherapist and researcher Linda Li, from Arthritis Research Canada.

The power of working out together

Workout groups portraying older adults

A recent study at the University of British Columbia’s School of Kinesiology shows the importance of age-targeting fitness programs and working out together. The research found that older adults are more likely to stick with a group exercise program if they can work out with people their own age; whereas, working out with people of the same gender made no difference to following an exercise program.

According to Impact Magazine, “In Canada, fewer than 15 per cent of people past age 59 meet international physical activity guidelines. We have been looking for ways to keep people active into old age, because inactivity has been shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and arthritis. It can also affect overall quality of life.”

For the study, 627 adults between the ages of 65 and 91 (average was 72) were recruited for exercise classes at YMCA locations in Metro Vancouver. The participants were divided into three workout groups:

1) Participants were of the same age and gender, led by older adult instructors trained for the study.

2) Participants were of the same age, but different gender, led by older adult instructors trained for the study.

3) Participants worked out in a typical YMCA class that was open to all ages and genders, led by a YMCA instructor.

Over the 24-week period of the study, researchers found that:

-participants in the same-age, mixed-gender group averaged 33.8 classes

-participants in the same-age, same-gender group averaged 30.7 classes

-participants in the mixed-age group averaged 24.3 classes

Participants were given T-shirts that identified them as members of a group and were given opportunities to socialize over coffee following class. This social connection – the sense of belonging – helped participants stick with their exercise program.

This age-targeting strategy should be adapted to a variety of physical activity settings such as community centres, fitness clubs and retirement communities to help older adults meet their daily physical activity requirements.

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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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