Some people believe that lots of recreational running might contribute to knee osteoarthritis, a painful common condition among middle aged and older adults. But a study presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting in Boston suggests the opposite might be true.

Researchers looked at the running habits of 2,683 men and women with a median age of 64.5 and average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28.6. They also took knee X-rays and asked them to complete pain questionnaires. Scientists found that no matter what age a subject started running, there was a lower prevalence of knee pain and osteoarthritis.

True Strength Moment: Part of the reason for this decreased risk is runners typically have lower BMI, and body weight can be a factor contributing to knee osteoarthritis. It might also be a factor that exercising at any age can be beneficial.